Sunday, July 3, 2011

Endless Birthday Fun

One of the joys of having your birthday right in the middle of a big chaotic move is everyone is home in the middle of the week to celebrate on your actual birthday. I think Alex could get used to this no work in the summer thing, if only he hadn't gotten a job so quickly! Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

We saved some of Lily's presents for her actual birthday and after a breakfast for a queen (M&M pancakes of course) she opened more gifts!
What a lucky girl! She has been asking for a net and butterfly catching kit for a while now. After playing with Grampy Englands nets in his pond she knew exactly what she wanted. No pond here though. We are busy working on spiders and bugs.
What a haul! Thomas trains, puzzles, books, and legos too! Gemma can't wait to get her gums on some of these.
Gopgop came over for the day and we all went to a small water park in a nearby town. We happened upon it a few days earlier and it looked so much fun we couldn't resist. It is more like a huge splash pad.
Lily has no fear of water so she hopped right in. She wanted dad to go down the slides with her but grown ups aren't allowed.
We took Gemma to the little splash pad and she loved it.
Don't forget a couple of turns around the lazy river.
What a fun day. Our big three year old is really no longer a baby, or a toddler! She has been coming up with some funny things lately. One day I was looking for my keys and I asked her if she knew where they were. She said, "Alex has them". We didn't even realize she knew we had names other than mom and dad. We asked her who Alex was and she said Daddy. Then we asked her what Mommy's name was and she said, Mommy of course!
She has finally learned how to say "L" so after calling herself Yiyi for over a year she is now saying Lily. All the funny little words she used to get wrong that were so cute are gone missing too. She still says slippity instead of slippery and we have all started saying it that way.
Just slow down a little bit with the growing up though. It is all too fast and no number of pictures or stories will really capture it all.

Three is the way to be!

Not to be missed in the very busy month of June was Lily's third birthday. Thank goodness, Grandma P (Gopgop) volunteered to throw Lily a birthday party. There was no way we could have pulled it together one week after moving. It was an ice cream theme pool party and the weather was just perfect for both!
It started off a little bit sad as there were plenty of grown ups but none of the kids had arrived!
Lily didn't seem to mind. She sat in the shade and played ponies for an hour. Uncle E and Auntie Rach helped decorate and play balloons. Too bad mom didn't plan to well ahead and pre-order helium balloons. She couldn't figure out why the balloons didn't fly.
Then hurray! Carsen showed up to save the day and even humored the birthday girl by playing ponies.
By now it was getting warm so we all decided to hit the pool.
Gemma had her first float in a pool. She loved it. She was so cool and relaxed she looked like she was going to fall asleep.
Mommies and their "babies", not so baby anymore!
Gemma can't wait for her turn to have a party.
After all that swimming we need some ice cream and cake!
I made ice cream cone cupcakes for Lily and an ice cream sunday bar! Lots of sprinkles and M&M's for toppings.
This was the first year she had candles and blew them out. It was a bit too risky for a one year old, and at two she was afraid of the candles. She did great this year. She was a bit shy at first with the singing but ended up loving it and blew out all three candles.
She and Carsen approved of the dessert.
They even liked it so much they had to smooch! Sorry Charlie, Lily can't seem to keep her hands off the cute boys!
After cake, it is time for presents!
She really got the whole birthday thing this year and was so excited to open presents and play with all the toys and gifts.

Gemma got to have some great grandma snuggles too. It was such a nice relaxing day! We don't want to wait a whole year to do it again!


Getting Settled

After the stress of packing, loading, driving, unloading, we were all in need of some down time and R&R. I have to say, I think perhaps the whole month of June took the biggest toll in this guy.
He is always nervous when we pack suitcases for a trip. After packing the house, then suitcases for England, then the long drive. This guy was beat. He was a real pain on the drive down because he couldn't ride in the truck with Alex, and we didn't have room to keep him crated in the car, so he got to ride in the front passenger seat. You would think he would love it, but he didn't sit down, ever. Then he proceeded to bark of whine at the hotel. Seriously dog? You decide to have some weird lump on your eye the week before we move, require and expensive surgery to remove it, and now you are a high maintenance traveler? Once we arrived in Carp and unpacked his stuff he promptly collapsed on the floor and fell into a deep snore inducing sleep.

Our home away from home. 
The rest of us have wasted no time in taking in the sun and R&R. I think Gemma is getting used to her new sunny weather wardrobe quite nicely.
Lily couldn't get in the pool fast enough. I think we have either been in the pool or ocean every day since we arrived.
One day we even went to the beach twice!
We have had some of the famed "June gloom" but at least half the days have been full sun, or at least sun by noon.
The beach is busier than we have ever seen it.
We could get used to this!

Moving Day

Talk about a busy month! June 2011 will go down in our family as quite possibly the busiest month ever! Two weeks to the day of returning home from our England trip, the moving truck was picked up, loaded, and we headed south to California.

After many quotes and shopping around we decided to rent a penske truck and have movers load it, Alex drive it, and I would drive the car with my mom and the girls. We didn't really know what size truck to get but you would rather have too big than too small so we got the biggest one you can rent and drive yourself.
When Alex rolled up with it that morning I thought it was huge and going to be way too big. Then the movers showed up. Three guys who do this day in and day out. They took a look through all our stuff in the house, garage, and shed, and said, "start thinking about what you would leave behind, because it is going to be tight." Awesome. Just what you want to hear on an already stressful day.
Mom watched the girls and kept them entertained for the 3 1/2 hours it took to load the truck. I ran around to buy more packing tape, rent more furniture blankets, and Alex surveyed the loading.

So bizarre to see your house empty again one month shy of five years after we bought it.
In the end, the movers did a great job and ALMOST everything fit! We only left behind some iron shelves from the garage and a few old things.
It was a "Peterson" style move. The truck was packed to the very end and had to be tied back to close. We finished up the last bits ourselves since the movers were already late for their next job.

We left Seattle around 3:30 PM for our first stop, Portland, to see our cousins for the night. Too bad we hit tons of traffic and didn't arrive until 8:30 PM! Poor Alex got a taste of what was to come for two more long days of driving an super heavy giant moving truck. It was a rough and stressful ride. I think it would take a severe case of amnesia to get him to drive that thing again. We had a pretty uneventful drive down through Oregon and California. We stayed overnight near Sacramento and then arrived in Simi Valley on Saturday.

Sunday morning we hopped in the car for one short jaunt to Carpinteria to unload into the garage at the Davis beach condo. Everything fit inside quite easily and we had Eric, Rach, Dan, and Jeanine meet us there to help! Ahhh family to the rescue, no movers this time. Mom made us all a big lunch and we even had a walk around town and iced coffee to relax in our "new town".

Lily took no time at all to make herself at home.
The girls play area at the condo was a sight for sore eyes. The first three days we were here she almost refused to step foot in a car. She played almost non stop from early morning until bed time. She barely stopped to eat. I guess you could say she had enough of living surrounded by boxes and having her toys slowly packed away from under her.
She still sometimes asks when we are going "home". It is hard to know what she understands at this point. She usually wants to go home when she is over tired or hurt herself. We tell her the "beach house" as we are calling it, is our new home for a little while but she says, no it is not, I want Lily's house. Talk about breaking your heart! Honestly though she loves it here and probably would beg to come back the minute we left. She does miss her cousins, and Seattle friends and we have already had a skyped several times.

We are all getting slowly adjusted. The girls are sharing a room which has been difficult at times but they are handling it really well.