Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Canada Trip: Part 5 (A Family Visit)

On Sunday we were invited to my Auntie Donna's house for a fabulous family BBQ. It was SO wonderful to see everyone! It was particularly great to see my Grandma Clara who Molly is named after (Molly Clara).

It was also really special to see my cousin Greg, who has a little girl named Emily who is just a few months older than Molly. Greg and I grew up together (we're the same age) and it was so fun to spend time with Emily who reminded me so much of Greg when he was little. And of course, Molly loved having someone her age to play with.

Both girls also enjoyed spending time with their older cousin. Maya is AMAZING with the little girls and loved to "mother" them. She was also a great little model for me to shoot!

Garrett and Paige enjoyed playing in the wading pools and slip-and-slide that Auntie Donna had out for them. But they spent the majority of their time grazing off of people's plates and snacking on treats.

All in all, it was a fabulous and relaxing day. I'm just praying that it's not another 2 years before I get to see them all again!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Canada Trip: Part 4 (Forestry Museum)

On Friday we took the kids to the BC Forest Discovery Center. It's a great little museum that most kids who grew up on Vancouver Island have been too on a school field trip. Except me. I had never been there. So it was fun going there for the first time with my own kids.

The highlight for our kids was the train trip. Paige was a little scared of the loud steam engine, but they all loved the view.

The museum also had a fun playground and the kids enjoyed blowing off some steam of their own. All in all... a successful outing!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Canada Trip: Part 3 (Hitting the Beaches)

The best part about visiting British Columbia in July is that the weather is AWESOME and the beaches are gorgeous. So this week we have taken advantage of that. We spent one day at Shawnigan Lake and another day at Esquimalt Beach. It is by far the best free entertainment for small children!

Molly was in heaven. She fed the Canadian geese and built sand castles and played in the surf. She coerced Daddy into wading in the VERY cold ocean up to his chest to retrieve a crab for her. And of course she enjoyed hanging out with her Nani, aunt and uncle.

Garrett was a typical little boy. He was happiest playing in the sand, rubbing mud all over himself, and splashing in the water. He also loved spending time with Auntie Shelley throwing rocks into the ocean.

We quickly realized that our sweet Paige is not into getting dirty. She was happiest when being held and was definitely not thrilled with having sand on her. She and Nani bonded over this and Nani declared that Paige is just like her... built for the spa, not the beach.

And here's Nani enjoying the fact that she could watch her grandchildren have fun at the beach from the comfort of her chair in the shade.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Canada Trip: Part 2 (Petting Zoo)

On our first full day here, we took the kids to the petting zoo in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park. It was a huge hit and they LOVED all the baby goats. It was interesting seeing each of their reactions to the animals. Molly wanted to "mother" them and talked to the goats like they were her children while she carefully brushed them. Garrett wanted to play with them, and at one point he got the nickname "goat bully" when he pushed one off of the rock it was perched on (naughty boy). Paige was really interested in them, but the second she pet a goat she would pull her hand away like it was gross to touch them.

One of the highlights of the farm was the peacocks that were literally everywhere. They were so tame and just walked around like pet chickens. But the cool part was that the males were constantly displaying their tail feathers. The biologist in me kept thinking about the biological energy investment it is to carry around that huge tail everywhere. The photographer in me just snapped a million pictures. You can click on the image below to see it bigger.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Canada Trip: Part 1 (Portland)

We are now in the midst of our next big adventure... a road trip up to Canada to see my parents in British Columbia. It has been 2 years since I have been able to go "home" and I was totally looking forward to seeing all my family. But, driving that far with three little ones seemed a little ominous. I am happy to report that we must have broken the kids in during the SoCal trip because they did AMAZING on the drive up to Oregon. And we were so lucky to have Steve's sister's family in Portland for the perfect stop-over!

We left Sacramento about three in the morning so the kids could sleep part way in the car. That put us in Portland just after lunch. Our kids enjoyed their reunion with their cousins and got right to playing in the backyard. Here's Paige taking Molly and Hailey's order and Luke cooking it up in the playhouse kitchen.

And here's Luke teaching Paige all about the doorbell.

And of course Paige enjoyed her snuggles from Aunt Christie!

For dinner we packed a picnic and headed out to a great neighborhood park with a fun water spray area. The kids all had so much fun playing. Hailey and Molly were absolutely precious because the held hands everywhere they went (unprompted by us). They were so happy to be together and were two little peas in a pod.

Garrett and Paige also enjoyed playing with Hailey. Garrett enjoyed joining her in the spray area, and Paige got lessons on how to get down the slide.

It was so great to see their entire family, although there definitely wasn't enough time considering we left early the next morning. But we're looking forward to seeing them again on the way back home.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Swim Lessons...

Last week Molly started her very first swim lessons. I have been meaning to do this for 2 years, but at first I was sick with my twin pregnancy, and then when the babies were tiny I didn't have the energy. Finally, it seemed like it was feasible and we worked out a brilliant plan. Steve's cousin's son Brandon works as a swim instructor and Steve's aunt (Brandon's grandma) just happens to have a pool. So, we were able to pay Brandon for private lessons, which is awesome because Molly was pretty fearful of swimming. Also, I was able to have Garrett and Paige nap at Aunt Nancy's house while Molly swam... giving me a free afternoon! Whoo whoo!

The first lesson started out pretty rough. Molly clung to my leg screaming, "I'm scared! I'm scared!" Finally Brandon convinced me to just let him carry her into the pool (against her will) and that I should just leave. Well, I have never been more impressed with Brandon. Within 15 minutes he had her giggling and laughing and they were talking all about princesses. And, ironically, the lesson ended with her crying because she didn't want to get OUT of the pool. What a change from the beginning!

After each lesson, Brandon's little brothers (Logan and Brody) joined Molly in the pool for some fun play time. That's almost as good as the lesson because they both swim really well and have encouraged her to be more bold. And after three swim lessons Molly is now easily swimming the length of the pool with just her floaties on. It's amazing how quickly she's picking it up. I'm so proud of her for conquering her fears!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The last of the birthday celebrations...

Well... Molly's birthday is finally over. The last of the birthday celebrations occurred yesterday evening at our annual Sacramento Mother's of Multiples (SMOM) pool party. Since it was Molly's birthday, we brought a huge cake to share with everyone and they all sang Happy Birthday. The funny part was that she was convinced that all those people were there at the pool party to celebrate HER!

It was such a fun time and all the kids had a great time in the pool. It was interesting to us that Paige was the brave one and Garrett was much more timid and scared in the water. And Molly was doing such a great job putting her face in the pool. I'm looking forward to see how she does in swim lessons this week!

I've made the commitment this year to get a little more involved with my SMOM group, and am now sitting on the Board as Historian. What is Historian, you ask? Basically, I go to the different events and take pictures. I thought it was a pretty fitting job... wouldn't you say? Here's some of the families of SMOM.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Molly!

It's hard to believe that my little baby girl turned four today. She was so quiet and shy when she was small, and it's interesting how that is starting to change. The shyness is going away and being replaced with high-energy goofiness. There are so many things to love about Miss Molly, but these three things top my list:
1. She loves her brother and sister so much and protects them fiercely.
2. Life is a musical to her, filled with dancing and singing and joy and tragedy and drama and spirit.
3. She loves animals like you would love people.

Happy Birthday to my sweet girl. You bring so much joy to our lives and I can't wait to watch you grow into the sensitive woman of grace that I know you'll become. I love you!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

SoCal Trip - Part 4 (Disneyland)

When you go to Disneyland with your own children, you definitely understand why it has been coined "the Happiest Place on Earth". It's just magical when you see it through their eyes. Get comfortable because this is going to be a long post.

While we were in Southern California, our friend Paige gave us an offer we couldn't refuse... a trip to Disneyland at a highly discounted rate. Apparently Paige "knows people". It couldn't have been a better gift for Molly's 4th birthday, so we used her birthday money from Nani and Papa to buy her ticket. We waited until that morning until we told her so she could sleep well the night before.

Our friend Paige also got Molly a Disney "Birthday Button". Because Molly was wearing this button, pretty much every Disney staffer that came across her path stopped and wished her a happy birthday. The announcer on the Jungle Cruise made a big deal of it. The person on It's a Small World announced it to the crowds. At the end of the day Molly whispered to me, "I really like how everyone is saying Happy Birthday to me". It was the icing on her perfect day.

We got all the kids Mickey ears with their names embroidered on them. Garrett and Paige kept theirs on for about 5 seconds and only let me get one picture off.

Auntie Paige hung out with us for most of the day, and we were EXTREMELY thankful for the extra set of hands. With small children it definitely helped to have a 1:1 ratio with the adults. And, for the first time ever, "little" Paige and "big" Paige bonded. It took a trip to Disneyland to win our little Paige over.

The highlight for Molly was the Princess Fantasy Faire, where she got to meet all the princesses personally. I couldn't help but laugh when she told me while we were waiting in line that she was going to tell them all about the "owie" on her knee. And sure enough... each princess heard all about it! And of course she was so happy that they gushed over her for her birthday. (click on the picture to see it bigger)

Molly's least favorite part of the trip was when Daddy convinced her to go on a small roller coaster in Toon Town. She didn't cry, but when she got off she said that it was too scary and she would NOT be riding it again. The expression on her face said it all...

Garrett and Paige surprised us with their ability to sleep for an hour and a half straight in their stroller. They were real troupers considering they spent quite a bit of time waiting for their big sister. But they did get to ride on "It's a Small World", "The Jungle Cruise", the carousel, and the train. The highlight for them was definitely the Tiki Room. They were both so excited to see all the singing birds and laughed, danced and clapped through the entire show.

One of Molly's favorite rides was the Flying Dumbo ride.

I may have enjoyed that ride too...

We left around 7:30 and got all the kids in their jammies before hitting the highway and driving all the way home to Sacramento. They were absolutely exhausted and were fast asleep before we hit the I-5. Needless to say it was a nice, quiet drive home (at which we arrived at 2:00 a.m.). What an amazing day. Thank you Paige for facilitating such a special birthday treat for Molly and thanks to Nani and Papa for giving her the funds to go!