Posts Tagged ‘Nicole’

August 8, 2017

Mommy & Me Days

With Nicole’s Kindergarten right around the corner, and the baby’s due date in the not to distant future, I’ve been thinking a lot about how best to ensure each child gets the individual attention he or she needs.

This spring Nicole wasn’t eating her school lunches. I told her if she eat at least two bites of everything on her plate every day for a week, I’d pick her up for lunch the next Monday and we’d go to a restaurant. Just the two of us. That was all the motivation she needed. She was super excited and eat like a champ, even the vegetable, often eating more than the stated minimum.

A few weeks later the elementary schools were all out on break for the spring holiday. Daycare attendance was surprisingly light as a lot of parents decided to keep both kids home, rather than just the school age child. The more I think about it, the more this creates a nice opportunity for a Mommy & Me day.

The kids are at different developmental stages. Nicole loves to play with beads, and make necklaces and bracelets. That’s hard to do on home days with a little sister around who sometimes puts things in her mouth. Alexis’ attention span for coloring is roughly ten minutes, where Nicole can go on for hours. Nicole is old enough to sit quietly through a movie at the theater. Alexis, not so much. The usual result of these differences is the older child is relegated to the activities the younger child.

If Nicole’s school is out, but Alexis’ is still in session, that doesn’t have to be the case. The opposite is also true, and Alexis will have the opportunity to have the big doll house and kitchen all to herself. We can spend time reading just the books she enjoys, and she won’t have to wait for Nicole’s longer chapter books to be finished.

To put this philosophy to the test, Domingo and I decided to enroll Nicole part time in her final week of preschool. She’ll get two special home days with Mommy before starting kindergarten. We’ll go to the movies, pick out her new school bag and lunch box, and generally do whatever she wants to do. Next month Alexis will get the same treatment.

July 10, 2017

The Big 5

My baby is growing up way to fast! Our birthday balloon photos on the party day are quickly become my favorite birthday tradition. Fortunately my kids are still happy to obliged by crazy momtographer tendencies.

As is our custom we’re having a separate kids’ party and family party.

Yesterday we had a small party for family with a helium balloons and princess cake. As always, the cake was a bit of a swing and a miss. Both kids enjoyed looking at the cake and were excited for a piece, but both kids also only picked at their piece before asking to get down from the table, or for goldfish and pretzels to eat instead. Both kids will eat angle cake well, but they just don’t get excited for it the way they do the character cakes which makes me reluctant to serve it on their birthdays. Ah well, birthday dilemma.

Afterward the family party we went to a restaurant where Nicole got a special birthday dessert. She was so excited for her birthday restaurant and birthday desert that she told both the hostess who sat us and our sever (several times) that it was her birthday. On the way out the hostess remembered us and wished Nicole a happy birthday for the second time.

The kid party will be next weekend. We’re having a low key art party. I bought a whole bunch of art supplies: canvas, sun catchers, beads and the like. I haven’t gotten many RSVPs yet, but Nicole’s closest friends did RSVP in the affirmative. Nicole will be super happy, even if they’re the only ones that are able to make it. Since neither Alexis nor Nicole are really big on frosting, we’re considering getting an ice cream cake for her kid party.

Nicole is bringing in frosted cookies for school tomorrow. I learned my lesson last year about bringing homemade stuff. We set some aside some cookies for Alexis, just in case she isn’t able to join Nicole’s class for treat time. (Their school usually lets them visit each other’s classrooms when we bring in a treat, but you never know what will actually happen the day of.)

All in all I think this birthday is a little more low-key than last one, but no less fun. The addition of a restaurant dinner was a big heat, and she’s really looking forward to the planned activities at her kids’ party.

February 23, 2017

Soon to be Kindergartner


One of Nicole’s School Picture Day Photos.

A few years ago when Domingo and I went to daycare together to pick up Nicole we stumbled on to a preschool graduation. The neighboring school was having a graduation ceremony for their five-year-olds. The soon to be kindergartens were wearing caps and gowns, and marching in procession for their parents. I told Domingo how silly I thought that was, since the only requirement to graduate preschool is age. Domingo said I’d feel differently when it was my kid.

Okay, so they’re darn cute in the caps and gowns.

I registered Nicole for the big K. In just a few months I will have a kindergartner. Kindergartner. It’s still feels so unreal no matter how many times I say it. Kindergartner.

I’m a bit sad that the girls will be in different places next year. It was inevitable, I know, but having them at the same school program has been really special, especially in the last few months. Now that Alexis is in the twos room, she gets to spend drop off and pick up time with Nicole’s class. That includes some outside recess time, as well as inside art time. The two of them really seem to enjoy having each other around. I love how much Alexis idolizes her big sister, and how Nicole looks after her little sister. Alexis is picking up so much from Nicole!

Nicole is ready. Her teachers have been saying since last summer. She’s also excited.

So we’re three quarters of a year from officially starting school. In the mean time we’re continuing to get Nicole ready by continuing “homework“, and talking about all the cool things she’ll get to do in her brand new big girl school. So far she’s most looking forward to riding the bus, and building her own rocket ship to take her to Disneyland. Apparently that’s what you do in Kindergarten these days.

September 7, 2016

Cognitive Leaps

Tonight, as many nights, Nicole was playing with her foam letter bath toys in the bath tub. She’ll hold up a letter and ask “what letter is this?” After answering her, I’ll follow up with “what sound does it make?” or “what words begin with it?”

Tonight she handed me the E. I told her it was the first letter in the word “eh-eh-elephant” and asked her if she knew what it was.

“L!”

She’s made this mistake before, with the same letter and word. Last time I corrected her, which seemed too discouraging in retrospected. This time I found the L and held it next to the E. “Yes! The E makes the Eh sound and the L makes the Elle sound so it’s E-L-ephent, Eh-Elle-ephent.”

Seeing those two letters next to each other, something clicked in her for the first time. She suddenly understood the connection between a string of letters and the word they spelled. She wanted to spell and sound out the entire word. The letter set only has one instance of each letter so we spelled ‘Elphant’, followed by ‘Princes’. (Hey, it’s the process that’s important not the exact letter sequence, right?!)

I’m a proponent of free play, and not really comfortable with the notion of formal preschool at such a young age. The research that free play sparks curiosity really resonated with me because it echos the experience of my childhood. Yet here we are, studying phonics in the bath tub.

I don’t have as much confidence in this whole parenting thing as I’d like to believe. We’re in a highly competitive area academically speaking. Some of the other kids can already read and recognize words. I was afraid Nicole kindergarten significantly behind her peers. I didn’t want her teacher forming a negative impression of her ability. Impressions, deserved or not, can be difficult to change. So we started going over letters and numbers. I even signed her up for phonics and math class at her preschool, though not without some hesitation. Sometimes it feels like a giant waste of money. Sometimes I just wish other parents would relax. But most of all I wish I didn’t let the peer pressure get to me.

At least she seems to be enjoying her letters and numbers.

July 10, 2016

Fourpalooza

Someone is having a good birthday party, day? week? fortnight?!

Four Ta-da!

When each of the girls was born near a major US holiday (Independence day for Nicki, Thanksgiving for Alexis) I was stoked. Having a birthday near a major holiday meant having an extended weekend for the party. Our family is spread out over both costs, so an extra travel day is most definitely an asset. It turns out having a birthday near a major holiday tends to draw out the festivities.

The birthday celebration started off with a school party on the 1st. Grandma and Grandpa were flying in on the 2nd. We like to keep the girls out of school for the week Grandma and Grandpa visit to maximize everyone’s time together. That meant cupcake day at school would have to be the 1st.

Who forgot about the school’s no home good policy? This girl! After making two dozen cupcake ice cream cones, fashioning an ice cream cone holder out of an amazon prime shipping box and some how managing to get them all to school relatively in tact I learned the kids would not be able to eat them. There are a couple kids with food allergies in Nicole’s class and even though the cupcakes didn’t have any nuts, the school didn’t want to take chances. I can understand that, it’s their liability after all. Thankfully there was a shop that sold cupcakes near by. When parents arrived at the end of the day they had the option give their child one of the home made cupcakes, so most of the kids got two different cupcakes.

That’s not the only thing we had double of do to a Mommy Mistake. Who ordered the wrong sized bike? This girl! I ordered Nicole a 12 inch balance bike. I thought it might be a little small, but doable since she’s on the shorter side. No dice, and now that it was put together I couldn’t return it. Domingo and I made a quick trip to Target where the only bike in her size was a frozen bike with optional sleigh doll carrier. Nicole was most definitely not disappointment about that.

On Saturday, when most of her friends had returned from their holiday travels, we had our first ever birthday party with just friends. That’s two sets of cupcakes at school, two bikes (now one for Alexis) and two parties, stretched out over two weeks. Fourpalooza for sure.

Since this was our first year having a birthday party with friends from school we had a few lesson learns:

– Write your own invitations. Computer printing is far more legible than my chicken scratch, and we can easily create the number we need. The invitations we bought came in an 8 pack which was inconvenient given there were 17 kids invited, and didn’t have enough space to write “siblings welcomed.”

– Buy Cupcakes/Cakes. Seriously, when will I learn? Our local grocery store charges the same price for the customized cakes as they do for the generic cakes in the bakery refrigerator, and they’re good, really really good.

– Do not fear Chucky Cheese. I dreaded our friend party. I remembered Chucky cheese as loud, with obnoxious
animations, but it’s really improved since I was a kid. We were assigned a party coordinator who was fantastic. Speaking of which, I need to go call them and let them know what a wonderful job our party coordinator did!

March 27, 2016

Sixth Anniversary

7thanniversary
My happy, crazy, amazing family

It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since the anniversary of our wedding vows. In those six years we’ve had three homes (three cities and three different daycares), two amazing girls, and one incredible do-it-yourself career adventure.

I am constantly amazed at the compassion and considerate my not-yet-four-year-old shows. She is so loving with her little sister, offering her hugs and toys when she cries. Her teachers tell me she is the first to start cleaning up, and the first to the table at activity time. A few months ago Ms. T, her favorite teacher, was cutting with scissors and somehow managed to cut herself. Concerned, Nicole fetched her a wet paper towel, all on her on.

Alexis is our vampire kisses and tackle hug champion. She is incredibly clever, just like big sister. Before she found words she was amazingly good at inventing gestures to indicate what she wanted, whether it be the way she tapped on the trey to indicate the type of food she wanted, or the way she’d throw her head down to indicate she wanted to be picked up upside down. She’s our happy little ball of energy

And Domingo. Boy, did I hit the jackpot with him. He’s amazingly supportive of my desire to start my own company, even though it’s taking longer to get it off the ground than I would like.

We’re loving our new home, and our new community. The change of pace from silicon valley (and the reduction in commute time) has done us a world of good.

March 12, 2016

Reclaiming The Night

There was about an 18 to 24 month time period where we had really rotten sleep. I didn’t blog about it much because, well, who wants to be reminded about how little sleep they’re getting? Besides, it felt like some kind of cosmic payback from Nicole sleeping so well as an infant. I jinxed it. I must pay for it.

It started when we moved to Silicon Valley. One of the criteria’s in apartments we were looking for was location. We picked the complex in part to keep the amount of city street driving minimal, and therefore the commute time minimal. My exit was right across the street from our apartment complex. Domingo only had to drive a few blocks down the major through way to get to his highway. Those few blocks could easily add twenty minutes to his commute, so from a time saving perspective I can’t say the location was an entirely poor decision. What we didn’t anticipate was the amount of traffic noise we’d be hearing, punctuated by the not so occasional siren. What I did not know when we signed the lease was that the local hospital was just down that major through way in the opposite direction of Domingo’s exit. Any accident on either highway meant the ambulance would be barely down our street, usually followed by police and sometimes the fire department. And, of course, that took them right past Nicole’s window.

Nicole went from being a solid sleeper to waking nightly. We tried white noise machines, but to know avail. Sirens are meant to be heard.

In a small apartment, any one person waking up usually meant we’d all be waking up. By the baby was a few months old, she was already out sleeping the toddler. My infant was sleeping through the night far more consistently than my toddler. For . A . Year.

We had hoped the quite of suburbia would help Nicole return to her solid sleeping phase, but at that point she was too used to her night time wakings. There were more nights where she’d sleep through the night, but it was nothing like that glorious infant sleep of her first year of life. Back in November a friend recommended an OK to wake clock. We went with the Kid’Sleep Moon White/Blue Nightlight, her “bunny clock” as she calls it. There were a couple of rough nights, include the early morning insistence that the “bunny was broken” when the bunny didn’t wake up early enough for Nicole. We coupled the bunny with morning prizes (stickers, temporary tattoos, etc) for a night well done.

I’m not sure if it was the bunny clock, or the morning prizes, but things finally started turning around for us. After a week or so we started noticing a significant change in Nicole’s night time sleeping. She rarely woke in the middle of the night, and stayed in bed until the bunny “woke up”. I even caught her on the baby monitor in the middle of the night, sitting up to see if the bunny was awake before settling herself back down. We’ve been three months now without a single middle of the night waking from her.

We may still not be getting much sleep. The bunny gets up pretty early. But it’s consistent, uninterrupted sleep and that is such a life changer.

October 11, 2015

Another Round of Nicolies

It’s been a while since our last round of Nicoles I thought I’d share some more of my favorite things my favorite big girl does.

Mingo Clone

We started working on family names a few months ago. “What’s Daddy’s name? What’s Daddy’s last name?” Truth be told she caught on really quickly, but I continued to ask because I loved the way she pronouced it. For a while Domingo was “Mingo Clone”. Lately he’s “Ah-mingo Ca-lon.” Getting closer! She’s got her sister’s name perfected, sadly for me and my love of “baby necklace.” She generally refers to her little sister as “baby”, sometimes “Lexus”, but can say “Alexis” more often than not. Alas, I have never gotten a cool nickname from her.

Sticker Doctors, Owie Doctors, and Mommy Doctors

At some point down the line we started differentiating between little owies, and big owies. Big owies need doctors. We’ll warn Nicole not to jump on the couch, because she’ll get a big owie and need to go to the doctor. Around her third birthday it occurred to us that she was getting the impression the doctor’s office was somewhere she didn’t want to go. Oops. So we differentiated the sticker doctor, the one that gives you a sticker at a check up, and the owie doctor, the one you go to when you get an owie.

She loves playing doctor so one time I mentioned I was a doctor. She found it fasinating. So now when we ask her what’s mommy’s name she says “doctor” and sometimes “doctor Tyler.” I swear I’m not as title obsessed as she makes me sound!

Three!

I am sure I am jinxing this by admitting it, but here it goes anyway. Nicole loves to hold up her fingers to count, and she always defaults to 3 fingers, no matter what the context. I will tell her she needs to eat one more bite of vegetables and she corrects me: three!

August 22, 2015

Three Year Old Ballerina

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Nicki loves ballerinas. She loves them so much she can sit through the nutcracker in it’s entirety. I knew she would love to dress up as a ballerina. Now that she’s three, I was in dire want of some more portraits.

ballerina1

ballerina2

I have to be super quick with the camera these days for these posed photos. She’s happy to get in the pose, but holding it? That’s mommy’s problem. Or more precisely, mommy’s camera’s problem. She was having so much fun twirling and spinning about the room, but my camera couldn’t focus fast enough.

ballerina3

ballerina4

A trick that’s working fairly well these days is to ask her about things. For example “how many feet do you have?” if I want her to look down.

twirl
How most of my photos turned out. Happiest. Ballerina. Ever.

Materials Cost:
$30.15 – Leotard (Amazon). A splurg, I admit. Will be used for dress up clothes afterwards
$2.99 – Ribbon (JoAnn’s)
$15.58 – Backdrop (JoAnn’s) Would you believe I didn’t have a simple cream backdrop?! I purchased two yards, but I really need three. Sarah’s rule of thumb 1 yard for each year.
—-
Total Cost – $48.72 fore tax.

July 5, 2015

We Be Three

And just like that another year has passed.

three
I can’t believe how fast time is flying, or how big my little girl is getting.

This year we thought it would be fun to kick off her birthday party with a big surprised. She loves balloons, so what better way to celebrate the big ‘3’ than waking up with a 3 foot high helium balloon? Before going to sleep ourselves, we snuck the giant balloon into her room. Wouldn’t you know it was the first night in weeks she woke up to go potty in the middle of the night? She spotted the balloon instantly and was so excited I was afraid she’d never go back to sleep. She kept talking about the balloon that ‘Santa’ brought. We decided to just go with it. Santa brings birthday balloons now, don’t you know?

So much has changed these past couple of months. New home, new daycare, new classroom, new routines. Nicole missed her old daycare (and told us so!) but is adjusting to the new one well. They have a ton of activities, and bouncy castles. We’ve been here about a month and they’ve already bounced in an inflatable bouncy castle twice. I’m not planning on switching daycares any time soon, but if I were, bouncy castles are clearly a new requirement.

My most precious memory of this age is the way she expresses herself. For the longest time ‘Sure’ was her affirmative response to yes/no questions. “Would you like a cupcake?” Sure, she’d say with a slight head nod as though her answer was anything less than an emphatic yes. These days ‘little bit’ is her new yes. As in “Are you the cutest thing ever?” Little bit. Little bit, indeed.

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