Monday, April 1, 2013

It's official; Az loves soccer. However, what Az does not love is soccer lessons. If lessons just consisted of playing soccer she would be in her element, but unfortunately lessons for a two year old mostly consist of popping bubbles and making towers out of cones, something Az has no interest in doing at 8 in the morning on a Saturday. So I'm afraid our search for the perfect activity for Az continues. At least we found out she does like the sport, and finding a field to bring our soccer ball to is not that difficult a feat.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Az at 28 months is sassier every day, as you may have noticed from the above photo. Some Az-isms from this month:
  • One day while she was taking a bath she showed me her finger and announced, "This is my soggy finger."
  • On November 8 she officially entered the "why" stage.
  • We went to see Wreck it Ralph with Aunt D this month. There was a mini film before the actual movie began, which commanded all of Az's attention. It was a silent film about a man trying to get the attention of the woman of his affection through a series of paper airplanes. When it ended Az turned to me and said, "That was Wreck It Ralph? Huh." Later in the movie when the character Vanillope is revealed as a princess she exclaimed, "Like me! I'm secretly a princess too!"
  • One morning Az and I were both in bed and I was wrapped in a blanket to ward off the cold. Az apparently didn't realize I was right next to her and she started to whimper. All of the sudden she stood up, immediately happy, and said, "Oh! You didn't go to work!" She was very happy the rest of the morning.
I really do love  this girl. I love all of the conversations we're able to have with each other. I know every mom is amazed by their kids, but knowing that really doesn't lessen my amazement about her at all.
Snuggling with Daddy while Mom gets ready for work. Az was neither pleased by the fact that I refused to climb back into bed with her nor that I instead was choosing to take a picture.
Just a regular trip to Costco.
Today was Election Day. I dropped off my ballot at the nearest place after work and the day seemed like pretty much any other day until the night progressed and it started to dawn on me what was on the line. The results were a little too close to my liking and I started feeling irritable and jumpy, then all of the sudden the election was officially called and Z, Az, and I grabbed hands and literally began to jump around in excitement. I know Az was just happy to jump and had no idea why we were acting like nuts, but at that moment I felt so happy to have the freedom to be nutty.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I wish I had been able to keep up with posting pictures; it is now four months since I took these photos and I forget why I settled for such poor quality photos and what the story behind them is. Az still sleeps with me, nursing throughout the night. I find myself ready to bring the adventures of nursing a toddler to an end but she isn't close to being ready. I had figured on following her example and weaning her when she was ready but I don't think I figured on just how uncomfortable the adventure could be, or that she would have no desire to stop. If I could at least get a more solid night of sleep I might have more energy to continue on. I know it's all worth it in the end; I really love getting to snuggle up to my not-so-baby, but man am I ready to be not SO snuggly. That being said, I know I'll miss it with all my heart once she does finally give it up.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Almost three months after these photos were taken I'm still trying to hobble together the end of my project through a broken computer so I can print it up into book form and I find I'm left with these two photos as the only pictures I took of the kids that day. For a while after Halloween Az was fascinated with making scary faces. The only thing she found to be more enjoyable was looking at pictures of her making scary faces. And Z, well, Z is an eleven-year-old boy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I love this little girl so much. When I was pregnant with her I wondered how I would find room in my heart to love someone else as much as I love Z. As it turns out, my heart just expanded to encompass her.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Today after Az's soccer class we headed into Sebastopol to check out the consignment shop. I didn't find much today, but we did end up picking up a dump truck for a Christmas present for Az that she fell in love with. I appreciate the fact that she loves both things like tutus and princesses and things like trucks and being rough and tumble. We also picked up a new raincoat and boots for her. It seems like it's been an unusually hot, dry fall so far but it doesn't seem wise to attempt to live in our area without owning a proper fitting rain coat and boots. But I think the purchase Az liked the most was the cookies we got from the Sebastopol Cookie Company to munch on while watching other Saturday strollers go by.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Before I knew our trick-or-treating adventures were going to be rained out and that we would end up home so early I had decided to have Z play hookey from school the next day. The thought was that we wouldn't have to worry about cutting the festivities short and Z could sleep in. I had arranged with Miguel's sister to meet at Sky High, a building filled with indoor trampolines. I had Groupons that were going to expire in a few days so it seemed like as good a time as ever. We ended up not needing the day to play hookey of course but by then I had already told Z he was going to get the day off and we had the Sky High plans with Miguel's sister so we went ahead and got our jump on.

I wish I had gotten a video of Az on the trampolines. It was amazing, pure amazingness. As it is I didn't even really get a good photo of her on the trampolines. I only had my phone with me and Az was too much for its camera. She had an absolutely wonderful time; it was like one of her favorite things, the jump house, times infinity. Z had a splendid time as well. Add to my list of wishes, I wish I had written Sky High a letter thanking them. I suppose it's never too late.I knew Sky High had days for kids with special needs, which seemed fantastic for Z of course so I asked one of the men working there if Az would be welcome on one of those days, explaining that my son over there was on the spectrum. He said that Az would be welcome, but that really every day was a good day for special needs kids. He radioed around that the people on the floor were to take special consideration of Z, and they did; every single one of them.

 Another reason I had chosen to play hookey to use the Groupons was that I wanted to go to Sky High in the middle of a week day. This helped the day go more smoothly no doubt because there were not many other kids, but the people working there really made the biggest difference. Z had a decent day and didn't do anything too quirky but the people working on the trampolines all had a lot of patience with him. After some rough public outings lately it was just so nice to have a smooth day where no one had any issues with either of my kids. In fact, thanks to a group of boys around Z's age roaming the dodge ball courts unsupervised and without any intention of listening to the guys working that area, Z actually appeared to be pretty well behaved in comparison.

After our two hour time slot at Sky High we went to Sweet Tomatoes with Miguel's sister and nephew. Z and the nephew get along very well and had a great time at the restaurant. Az was eager to join in the conversation and laughs but she just didn't know what to say to keep a five year old boy interested. It was very sweet watching her try to be one of the boys, but my heart strings were tugged a little each time her cousin turned away from her to give his attention back to Z. Even now she refers to him as Z's cousin and not hers.

We stopped at Miguel's grandmother's after, as is our tradition when we are in the area. I didn't take any photos of our visit this time though because I wanted to focus on visiting rather than documenting this time. I wish I had snapped a couple photos in hindsight though, I cherish all of Az's photos with her great-grandma.
 So. It's not even 2012 any longer. Here it is January of 2013 and I'm trying to get the energy up to finish my Halloween post. My computer is finally on it's very last toe on it's very last leg and is long past needing to be put to pasture. In the past month I think I've turned it on exactly twice, when it was absolutely necessary. This has put a huge kink in compiling my 366 Project photos, though I did continue to take a daily photo through the end of 2012. It's almost two in the morning and I actually find myself awake without Az, something that has become a huge rarity. My 4:30AM wake up time has had me going to bed with her at her bedtime, and so even on the nights when I don't have to be up early the next morning Az has gotten used to me going to bed with her. For the past few months I literally haven't had more than a few minutes to myself, which can be frustrating when it comes to things like needing showers or going to the bathroom (she accompanies me on almost all trips) but honestly I don't mind it enough to force a change. Az prefers that I be the one to do everything for her, and Miguel is more than happy to let me. I know I won't be her favorite person forever and love the amazing bond we are forming together, so things like showering and this blog suffer.

Rewinding back to Halloween, Z and I got up early and I gave him his Halloween basket. For most of Z's life I didn't let him have much (if any) of the candy he collected while trick or treating, and instead gave him a few small presents. Now he is allowed to slowly pile through his booty but I still give him some treats of his own. This year his treats from me were a book and a couple of small items. Z was enthused nonetheless, most likely ensuring him another year of goodies from me next year.

Z was very excited about wearing his Finn costume to school. Most of his schools haven't allowed costumes on Halloween, yet another difference I love about his current school. Once Z was on the bus Az woke up and I went back to bed with her. I love that my job allows me to do things like take off Halloween so I can spend it with my kids. Az usually wakes up at the same time as Z and I was hoping she would this morning as well so they could open their goodies together but my ever contrary girl slept just long enough for Z to leave.

I wasn't sure how Az would react to her costume. There were many things she wanted to dress up as for Halloween and a dragon was not one of them. If the girl could have chosen her own costume I have no doubt she would have ended up as a princess. After picking up Z from school and going to the store to buy the kids light-up wands and swords for trick-or-treating (which we completely forgot to actually use) we headed to the mall for the indoor trick or treating they do there. Z and I used to go when he was younger and it was always fun; he got to show off his costume to the people working in the stores and the few other trick-or-treaters, and got a few pieces of candy to boot.

This year the festivities started at 4PM. We got there around 4:12 and by the time we started walking around the mall there was hardly any candy left.  This was partly because fewer stores seem to participate these days and because the ones that do don't buy very much candy, and partly because it was raining pretty hard that day so a lot more kids were taking advantage of the indoor venue. The kids had a good enough time anyhow. At first Az didn't want to put on her costume and go inside but then we saw a group of kids going in and I convinced her that they were all princesses. They were a witch princess, a bumblebee princess, and a starship trouper princess. Whatever, it worked to get her in there.

At first Az refused to wear the head of her costume and I didn't want to push it because I hadn't even been sure she was going to let me put the body of the costume on her. She had fun walking up to the people at the stores, and was happy to receive the coupons that most of them were handing out in lieu of candy or anything kids actually like, but she seemed a little overwhelmed by the throngs of people. Eventually she let me put the head of her dragon on and I quickly snapped photos, but she hadn't warmed up to it yet.

We didn't spend a ton of time at the mall because there just wasn't that much to do. After getting some lemonades we stopped at a drive-thru taqueria and headed to Sebastopol. I had planned on stopping somewhere to eat but decided that the rest of the night would go smoother if I let Az sleep in the car. We ate our burritos and then headed out in the pouring rain with one small umbrella to trick or treat for reals. Z's costume consisted of a tee shirt and shorts. I had him wear a sweatshirt over it at least, but honestly I don't think he would have felt the cold if I hadn't. It seemed the responsible mom thing to do though.

Az had a BLAST trick or treating. It poured the whole time so Miguel ended up carrying her to save her knit tail from the wet puddles. She happily wore the head of her costume the entire time, and Z happily quizzed people about what his costume was. Most people guessed both of the kids' costumes incorrectly. More people guessed that Z was a tooth than a character from Adventure Time. Miguel said he felt most people thought Az's costume was ghetto. Her costume was one that Z, my brother, and I wore and was made by my grandmother so it was extremely special to me. I choose to thing Miguel's interpretation of people' reactions was incorrect.

The street we go to is chosen because it usually is very lively. This year the crowd was much sparser, but it was nice. We didn't hit as many houses as we might have had it been a dry night but it was enough. Contrary to how it may appear from these pictures, Az had a fantastic time and was in a great mood. She got a little shy and didn't always say, "trick or treat" like we had rehearsed, but she did remember to say, "thank you," every single time. Az got a good taste for what trick or treating was. For the next few nights she continued to request we go again and talk about what costume she wanted to wear next. We did so many Halloween themed things that month that she didn't realize for at least another month that Halloween was done until the next year.

When we got home it was still pretty early so we put on the Frog Princess, Az's first viewing of a Disney princess movie, and snuggled in for the night. It was sort of a bummer that our Halloween got rained out, but I think we made the most of it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Z finished his jack-o-lantern tonight. I don't think he ever fully gutted it, but it didn't really matter since we only lit it long enough for pictures. Next year I need to find the battery operated lights we've used in the past, though it feels a little silly since there isn't really anyone to see our creations when we do light them and leave them on the stoop. Years ago, as in over a decade ago, we got a couple of trick-or-treaters but no one tends to bother walking all the way up our hill to knock at our door. I took the kids outside to take a few photos, because it's the thing to do. Az was in a posing mood so I ran with it.
Unfortunately the only picture Z posed for on his own came out blurry.

I obviously did the majority of the carving for Az's pumpkin this year but she did help me cut the top off and she told me what shapes to cut out for the face and where. I had thought she would have a blast getting the seeds out but she refused to touch the inside, saying she didn't want to get her hands dirty. Miguel had bought her a small sugar pumpkin, which Az quickly decided was her official pumpkin. She wanted me to carve that one for her but it wasn't hollow. Z worked on his pumpkin slowly and methodically, as is his way, and ran out of time so he had to to finish the next night. We had to postpone the grand lighting of pumpkins ceremony until then, though I did quickly light a candle in Az's pumpkin so she could see. I blew it out just as quickly lest my two-year-old go running off with a flaming squash in her arms.

The most anticipated part of carving pumpkins for me is always roasting the seeds, but we were running low on propane again thanks to the company not being willing to come out until more than a week after I called, so we were avoiding using the oven. I had wanted to wait until Miguel and I could carve our own pumpkins anyhow, but then neither Miguel nor I ended up doing any carving. We didn't even end up leaving the pumpkins lit outside because leaving candles unattended in the woods makes me nervous. Pumpkin carving felt a little off this year, but Z didn't seem to notice and really the pumpkin carving was for him this year. Az wouldn't have known to miss it if we had skipped it.

Who knows, maybe Miguel and I can make Thanksgiving themed pumpkins now. I've never tried carving a pumpkin into a turkey.

Az has requested she be a large handful of things for Halloween. I'm trying to help her realize each one before the official date, with things we have at hand. I present to you Az the princess.
Az had soccer again today, where she was given her jersey. I'm pretty sure she was given the wrong jersey because the other kids on the team all have white jerseys. The kids wearing blue jerseys look much older than her. Oh well, it looks like she'll be sporting the evening gown version of a soccer jersey this season. I hear they're all the rage in Madrid.

Az did okay during today's lesson, though the regular coach was back today and she was pretty intense. Az didn't respond very well to her. Az is still reserved about joining in on some of the activities, and takes a minute to warm up. By the time she does want to join in the coach is moving on to the next thing. There were a couple of times when the coach was literally pushing her along and I had to ask her to remove her hands from Az's back and let her go at her own pace. When it came time for popping bubbles the kids were instructed to stomp them with her feet. Az did a little stomping, but also wanted to pop them with her hands. I let her because whatever, they're bubbles and at least she was participating. The coach, however, barked at her to stop and only use her feet. The coach is a young girl, possibly in her teens, so I'm trying to cut her slack but we're paying good money for the experience. I think it might be time to move Az up to the older class after all.

Here's a bonus shot of Z, just because:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It seems like it wasn't that long ago that the phone pictured was mine. In fact, I just got the phone not that long ago. I got the iPhone5 the day it came out and had it to myself for about two days before Az declared that the phone was in fact hers. My big mistake was putting so many games for her on it. Miguel has a phone that can download games as well but oddly enough it isn't able to download any kids games. He's able to get all of his games on the phone just fine though. He's obviously much smarter than me. Every once in a while Az will pick up the phone and declare that she needs to get a job, which cracks me up because I use the phone to search for upcoming subbing jobs online. She is very serious about it too, a little too much so. I apparently need to be a little less intense about looking for work.
Today would have been my dad's 59th birthday. It was a regular day of course; I went to work, Z went to school, and afterwards the kids and I went to Z's soccer game. Afterwards though, I wanted to do something in memory of my dad. I had been thinking about it all day and hadn't come up with anything that felt fitting for a Thursday evening. Z wanted to go to Fresh Choice but I think he just wanted to go to Fresh Choice, it didn't really have a whole lot to do with his grandpa. He said it was a place we went to celebrate and he wanted to celebrate Grandpa, but there's nothing about Fresh Choice that really reminds me of my dad. I tried to find people to come out to dinner with us so that it would feel like more of an event but I had waited too long to try to organize something, and in the end we ended up picking up seafood burritos and bringing them home while Z and I talked about good memories we had of Grandpa.

One of the most heart-breaking facts of my life is that my dad and Az never got to know each other. My dad would have adored Az. He was so into Z, and I know he would have been just as into Az. Az would truly have been his reward for raising his obstinate daughter; she would have been the little girl for him to spoil and then hand over when she got moody or started to throw a tantrum. I know that my dad would have found Az to be absolutely beautiful with her Asiatic features. My dad deserved to know Az. I wish that he could have at least known she was coming.

Just as much I think Az deserved to know her grandfather. Both of her grandfathers passed away shortly before she was born. My dad passed away nine months before she was born and Miguel's dad passed away twelve months before that. Septembers were rough months for her grandpas. I don't know if Az will ever realize she has that hole in her life with not having a grandpa, I hope she feels so much love from the people she does have in her life she doesn't notice that absence, but I think I will always feel it. When I was a year old my father's mother passed, and my dad talked a lot about how much he missed her and how much she would have loved me through various phases in my life. I'm only now able to understand how heartbreaking it must have been for him to watch me grow up without his mother to also witness it.
My girl pays attention to the world around her, and constantly catches me off-guard. Today she referred to my dad (whom passed away before she was born) as "Daddy Michael." I had no idea she understood that I ever had a dad, let alone that his name was Michael.
Az to me today: "You're my favorite friend." She says the most awesome things sometimes. I'll have to remember these moments for when she's a teenager.
Az understands that my phone is for asking questions and getting answers. Today I caught her with my phone, pressing the button that summons Suri. When she heard the familiar ding she held it up to her mouth and very carefully asked, "Where's Daddy?" I had to answer for Suri that he was at work. She really does miss us when we're at work. In fact today she pulled away while nursing to tell me, "I miss you at work." I told her that I would rather be at home with her and she thanked me.
It's starting to look a lot like Halloween around here.
Last year I discovered a dairy farm that also operates as a pumpkin patch during October. We decided to check it out last year based solely on those merits, and were rewarded with the surprise that it was also a potato farm in addition to this. We had had a blast digging our own potatoes the year before and Miguel had made a roast and potato meal that night that all of our palettes were still longing for, so of course we had to do the whole thing again this year. Az was less than enthralled by digging potatoes and was ready for a nap by then so the two of us went off to find a quieter place to nurse while the boys did the digging. I've never been a huge fan of potatoes, most likely as a result of the fact that my dad was so very fond of them, and served them with most meals, but there is just something about eating food you just dug from the ground that day (and it just might taste even better when it was your boyfriend and son that did the digging.) This year the farm had four types of potatoes, one of which was a Peruvian purple. The flesh of the potato is a beautiful vivid purple, and to my taste buds the taste actually lived up to the flashiness. I just might have found a potato that I like. Too bad I only know where to get them one month out of the year, if that one farm decides to grow them.