Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Welcome Benjamin Lee

Welcome to the Family Benjamin Lee Peterson!! Born 10-11-12 at 13:14 (yes, for real)

Lily could not be more excited to finally hold her baby cousin.
 Gemma was ready to fight for her turn. Then she proceeded to (gently) touch every part of his body.
 He is so sweet and cuddly. We could be his official cuddle team if his parents would allow it.
 Proud Papa. Yes, he did ask if we were all healthy and were up to date on our shots.
Mama Rach is doing an awesome job! You guys should have done this 10 years ago, well maybe 8 years ago then. XOXO We love you Benji!

San Diego Getaway







Now that we are back in SoCal we wanted to make the most of the surrounding area and see some sights we never had time for when we lived in Seattle. Thanks to my cousins for planning their daughter's BatMitzvah for this October we had just the excuse we needed to take a long weekend down to SanDiego. I can tell you we had several "why didn't we move here?" moments. We will definitely be back for more fun!

We drove down Thursday after work so we could be up bright and early for Sea World on Friday. We thought the girls would enjoy it and I remember going about 15 years ago and having so much fun.
 Gemma has some serious movie star qualities and she does not like to be photographed by the paparazzi while on holiday. We got there just as the park was opening so NO LINES! Actually we had no lines all day. Lily had been watching you tube videos of the rides all week and had her heart set on riding Atlantis. Alex took her on first thing. It is a really big roller coaster! She made it through just fine and said it was the highlight of the day. She also said that did not mean she wanted to ride it twice.
While Lily was on roller coasters Gemma and I hit up the kiddie rides in Elmo town. This was right up her alley. This was the dumbo ride made into elmo animals. We rode three times.

 Then we rode the Abby Cadabby tea cups ride, again twice.
 We rode the Oscar the grouch make you feel ill and dizzy ride just as Dad and Lily arrived. After the roller coaster Lily decided she did not want to spin around so Gemma rode this one with Daddy solo.
 Now enough of the rides it was time to see some fish! We headed for the shark encounter. Yikes!
 Followed by the sea turtes, which I prefer to teach my children to call Honu so they sound cool in Hawaii.
 Then it was on to catch the Shamu show!! I remember loving this when I had been here years ago. It was so cool. Let's just say after the horrible "incident" in 2010 at Seaworld Orlando the show is much more subdued. The trainers do not get in the water and mostly dance along the side of the pool and give hand signals. I am by no means saying they should get in the water with the KILLER WHALES but I have to say, the show is really lame now. Did I mention it was hot out? We should have gone with shorts that morning but I guess we were fooled by the fact it is October!
 They are still impressive and amazing creatures.
 After Shamu we got some lunch and met up with a bunch of my cousins who were at the park as well. Of course with 9 little kids and 6 adults making our way through the penguin and polar exhibits there were no free hands to take even one picture. By this time it was Gemma's nap time and so she turned into human energy ball. She was a running wild woman and it was hard to keep track of her in the sea of people. We also slipped into the pets show which involved all kinds of furry household pets. It was very entertaining but not sure what it had to do with sea life?
 One show that certainly did not disappoint was the dolphins. They have made this show into a sort of cirque du soleil type show. They had dolphins and all kinds of sea mammals swimming and splashing with trainers as well as acrobatics.
 This is exactly why we don't sit in the splash zone!
 How would you like to surf a pilot whale?  I guess these guys are safe because there were a bunch of trainers in the water here!
I think Lily was thinking, enough of these water shows...let's go play. So back to the bay of play it was. She was all over the jumpy balloon. Lily would have been happy to spend all day here. Gemma was too small to get in this time.
 She was not too little for the huge climbing structure. With Alex's help of course.
 We had a fantastic day and were thoroughly wiped out!

On Saturday we headed out to Balboa park to meet up with a friend of mine from the Hawaii days! She and her husband and son have recently moved to SanDiego from the east coast! It was just our luck that we were both now on the west coast and could get together. We let the kids play on the playground while we caught up and then headed to the puppet theater for a show.
spacer theater spacer
It was seriously hilarious and a bit odd at the same time. Lily enjoyed herself and is still talking about it so I guess it was a hit with the target audience. I wish I had taken pictures with Jill, Lee, and Jake but we were too busy catching up. I guess it is another excuse to see them again soon.

We thought we were returning to the hotel for a nap but the kids had other plans. Gemma took a 15 minute power nap and thought she was good to go. Oh well, we hit the hotel pool with Rory and Cael! Way more fun than sleep. We did manage to get Gemma down later but that really only served to confuse her. I think she thought it was night time so when we woke her up to go to the party she was out of it.

Later that night it was time for the real festivities. We were here for Rachel's BatMitzvah after all!! We were unable to attend the service at the temple due to our loud children. The evening was amazing. Everything was so beautiful. Gemma ate her weight in chocolates.
 Lily was a dancing FOOL!
 They had a photo booth. I seriously want to use this one as our Christmas card.
Then Lily and Dad did this one. We have plenty more. How much time do you have?
 Gemma and Rory share a chair and some iphone. It was hard work being the kids who didn't go back to the hotel to go to bed! They had to party hard like their parents!
 Lily dragged Grandpa Lee out on the dance floor too. Maybe that is where she got her moves?
 After the glow necklaces, hats, and maracas were passed out she no longer needed a dance partner. She was a one woman dancing machine.
 They played the sweetest slide show for Rachel and Lily sat right up front with Rachel and all her friends.
 Finally after the ice cream sunday bar opened and we had been dancing all night we dragged those kids home at 11pm. The fun wasn't over yet. We woke up the next morning (at 6:30, thanks to Gemma) and after a quiet morning went to Bob and Audrey's for lunch and fun! Gemma, Reese, and Maya on the play structure. It was so fun to spend more time with cousins, kids, Aunts and Uncles. Every day is a party!
The fun didn't stop there, we had to get home to go meet our new baby cousin Ben!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Birthday Gemma

Two already? I mean really, how did that happen? I think two is such a mile stone from baby to toddler. They go from a cooing, babbling baby to a speaking, thinking, independent being. Gemma is most certainly thinking for herself, speaking for herself, and most days thinks she can run the show for the rest of us! Most people dread the "terrible two's" but Gemma has always had a mind of her own so that's nothing new. We are going to call them the terrific two's!!!

We asked her a couple of weeks ago what kind of birthday party she wanted. She said quite certain,"woof, woof cake." We had our answer then. All she talked about for weeks was the cake. She is still talking about it.
I found a picture on pinterest of a puppy dog cake but the link was old so there were no instructions. They just said they used a heart shaped pan, a round cake cut in two, and then used a fruit leather for the tongue. That is pretty easy right?

 I used cocoa powder to tint the frosting light brown for the face and then added more for the darker ears. I used chocolate chips for the eyes and nose because it tastes a lot better than that black goo frosting.
 We served drinks, and snacks to start. I know this was a two year old's birthday party but we went through 6 bottles of wine. Gemma better not go through that much booze at another birthday party until she is 21!
 Our disneyland balloons are still going strong and Goppy brought her some special birthday ones. Lily was eager to help decorate with streamers and banners.  We had puppy party hats and some of her doggy toys around.
 Carol loves a good party!!
 I think Gemma approved of the snacks and decorations too.
 Granny and Great Gram and all the crew relaxed out in the back. It was a VERY HOT day, I think it was almost 88 in the house! We all managed just fine though.
 Uncle E provided bubble entertainment. He needs to learn to do balloon animals for next year.
 Gemma also got to choose the menu. She wanted her favorite, Noodles. We went with spaghetti bolognese, spinach salad, and french bread.
 It was a hit all around, but the real excitement was yet to come.  The puppy cake!!! I think the birthday girl was pleased! Her expressions were priceless. We had been practicing singing happy birthday and blowing out candles so this girl new exactly what to do.
 The taste test passed inspections. The face was chocolate cake and the ears were yellow cake.
 After cake and ice cream was devoured we moved to the family room for presents!!! Did somebody say presents???
 It was pretty exciting and of course big sis was more than willing to lend a hand.
 Yikes! This is so much fun.
 Surrounded in gifts and bows! The best day of the year.
 Aunt Carol gave Gemma a doll cradle and accessories and it was a big hit. Many a time I have found Gemma sitting in the cradle herself.
 Winsty was not thrilled about being excluded from the gifts. At Christmas he at least gets a bone or a toy!
 These photos were not prompted at all. She was just over the moon excited about each new toy or clothes. It wasn't easy prying her away from it all to head to bed but the excitement was exhausting so out she went.
 The next day was her actual birthday. Lily had preschool which was nice because then Gemma could have some time alone to play with her toys and not have to share. I asked her what she wanted to do after we dropped Lily off and she said, Goldfish crackers. They are not a staple in our house and she loves them so off to the store we went. Two hours alone with all her new toys and a bowl of goldfish. Heaven.
 I did make the obligatory M&M pancakes but we had them for lunch. Oh yes, more M&M's than Gemma has ever had in one sitting. Aren't birthdays grand?
 Lily didn't seem to mind sacrificing the usual lunch for M&M pancakes either.

Mostly for my memory but of course you are welcome to read my rambles:

 Gemma keeps us laughing every day and sometimes all day long. She has a personality all her own and the vocabulary to express it. She is all over and into everything. You would think we are beyond the baby years with these two but I just had to install baby locks on some of our cabinets because I was tired of finding the contents dumped and paint/markers/scissors etc in the hands of Gemma. I can only imagine what the future has in store for us with this one. Our running joke is how long before we are in the ER with her paying that nasty co-pay!!

She is small but mighty. At her 2 year check up she was in the 50% for height but has dropped to the 10% for weight. Guess she should expect more M&M meals in the future. She is a really good eater though and not picky, just busy and on the go. She is still seeing a GI doctor for her tummy troubles. We recently had blood tests done to rule out some illnesses and she sat perfectly still while they poked her twice for blood. I can say I have never ever had a two year old sit still and watch me draw her blood. This girl has a high pain tolerance or something.

The woof woof cake idea was all her own but not a big surprise. She loves Winsty and all dogs. She points them out everywhere we go. She has stolen a stuffed dog of Lily's for her bed and spoiler alert, can you guess what she wants to be for Halloween? Between dogs and trucks we don't get very far on our drives or walks without her shouting out to one or the other. Fridays are trash day here and she NEVER naps on Fridays. She waits up for each of the three trucks that make their rounds in the afternoon and begs to go outside to watch and wave. Speaking of naps, she takes one nap a day for about 1 1/2 hours but has recently gone on strike and thanks to her big girl bed I spend the hour going back to put her back in bed. I fear naps are going to soon be a think of the past and then there is no rest for the weary mom.

She is currently obsessed with her clothing and wants to have a say in what she wears. She brings me clothes from her drawers several times a day and demands I change her. Today it was her swimsuit because Lily goes to swim lessons twice a week. Gemma demanded to wear her suit and then had the melt down to end all melt downs because I made her wear clothes over it to go to the pool. She came home and need to change into yet another swimsuit immediately. Lily still let's me pick out her clothes and really never cares what she wears much. Shoes are a whole other obsession. Currently the leopard print ballet flats shall be worn at all times.

She thinks she wants to watch TV but only ever sits still for about 5 minutes of it. We are making progress with sitting for books and now she will sit still for several or I just keep reading and she comes back after a little wander. She is quickly becoming a great play mate for Lily and is able to keep up with the big 4 year old imagination without "wrecking" it all. Just as Lily was at this age the Thomas toys and legos are popular but she really is happy to play with whatever Lily dictates. She is much more interested in playing cooking in the little kitchen and is always making "chicken", even if she serves you a cookie.

Pretty much you wear us out Gemma, and between you and Lily we collapse each night but we wouldn't have it any other way. Well, most of the time anyway.