Sunday, March 20, 2011

C'est la vie

I have just survived three days solo with the kids. Three days does not seem that long, but after a weekend (read: no school, no gymnastics class, no swim class, no soccer class, etc.) with no break in the pouring rain, and I'm officially exhausted and ready to pass the torch to Dave when he walks in the door. Good luck Daddy. And just to add salt to the wound, Dave was skiing in "the deepest powder" he had ever skied in. I'm ready for some serious pay back! We made it through relatively unscathed with a lot of movies, puzzles, a trip to the gym so mom could workout (with a bribe of Jamba Juice when we were finished), play date and dinner with Lucy O., and a trip to the San Jose Discovery Museum. Oh and Oliver packed and re-packed and then re-packed again for Aunt Kelly's upcoming wedding in Boston and trip to NJ with mom. Packing is one of his favorite things to do. He has a significant portion of his toys, including rock collection, stuffed in miscellaneous bags, some just plastic Ziploc bags or paper grocery bags and literally all of his clothes. Problem with the clothes is that he now has nothing to wear for the next 3+ weeks and we aren't allowed to remove anything from the bags. Hmmmm....

Per usual, we have not written in the blog in over six months. We don't write for anyone (I don't think anyone even reads it anymore), but more so we can have a record of the kiddos' early years before we forget everything in our old age. :) So I guess it doesn't matter that much. Though there are definitely lots of memories and funny moments that could be captured and better remembered if we wrote even just twice as much. C'est la vie.

We've had a busy winter with a few trips to Tahoe to ski (including Dave's birthday spent with Joe, Angie and Baby Elsa), a trip to Sayulita, Mexico to celebrate Grandma and Grandpa Swain's 40th wedding anniversary (wow!) and Dave deciding to start numerous home improvement projects including removal of the Great Wall of St. Charles (as the man who has basically taken it down for free in exchange for the bricks, has dubbed it). I had a fabulous weekend away skiing with a bunch of amazing girlfriends. There was some skiing and loads of debauchery that was so good for the soul. Oliver has made big strides skiing and even finally agreed to ditch the harness though this means that he is now basically completely out of control. Next year will be his big year and probably Caroline's too since she is completely focused on keeping up with her big brother. Weekends in Tahoe are still a bit challenging this year because Caroline can't quite participate and needs to nap right in the middle of the day.

Oliver celebrated his 4th birthday at The Little Gym (where he takes gymnastics class each week) with all his friends and had such a good time. It was so fun to watch him truly so full of joy and happy. I'm not sure I have ever seen him like that - where he knows this is all about him and he is so completely thrilled.

Caroline is two and is equal terror and princess. Maybe slightly more on the terror side of the spectrum. She is physically way beyond her age and can almost keep up with anything Oliver does. She rips around on the Strider bike and is way better at it than Oliver was at her age. I'm afraid for what the future holds since Oliver is completely crazy on his bike. I guess that's the way it goes when you have an older brother. Her strongest personality traits - stubborn, determined, aggressive, but sweet as pie. She has this way of looking at you where you think she is such an innocent doll and she completely melts your heart with the warmest smile and most loving, happy eyes, and then the next second she is basically growling at you in this distinct raspy voice. She literally shakes and goes "grrrrr" when she wants something she can't get. It is hilarious and so hard not to laugh at. She absolutely ADORES her Grandpas; Grandmas are definitely tier two, though I am sure they will have their time in the spotlight in due course (and they are very warmly received when mom, dad or grandpa(s) are not around). She loves to play with her baby dolls all day long - putting them to bed, walking them in her baby stroller, feeding them, etc. She even mimics breastfeeding like a pro (which is definitely a little odd). She is starting to get into dressing up, trying on shoes, picking out her clothes and in general very girly things. And then just like that she is attacking you/someone. She is aggressive to other kids her age who are more mellow in nature. I don't quite know how to handle it yet because no matter what I do or say she thinks it is funny - like she is literally thinking, "that wimp had it coming"...and meanwhile mom is very embarrassed to have the kid at the playground hitting everyone.

We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at home. Grandma and Grandpa Swain came for Thanksgiving and it was so nice to have family here to celebrate a holiday with. And the added bonus was that mom and dad got to spend a couple of nights in Yountville (Napa). We spent Christmas on our own which was good and bad - so nice not to travel and have some downtime, but if I am being perfectly honest, a little bit lonely without anyone to spend it with. We literally spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day completely by ourselves. Mom got super sick on Christmas and had to cancel the little birthday celebration we had planned for Caroline with some friends. Dave took the kids and food / cupcakes I had made to a friends house instead and I stayed home. I was sad. Grandma and Grandpa Riggs came for Halloween and got to go trick or treating in San Carlos with Caroline and Oliver which was was super fun - trick or treating in San Carlos is just a little different than where Grandma and Grandpa live. Picture all the houses completely decked out in Halloween garb and loads of kids running around like wild. Oliver and Caroline had just as much fun handing candy out as they did trick or treating. Oliver was literally standing on the sidewalk hailing kids down. Grandma and Grandpa stayed at a hotel nearby with a nice pool and Oliver got to spend the night with them - he was in heaven.

Steamboat at Labor Day to visit Grandma and Grandpa Riggs and cousin Bri and Heidi and Sawyer...And that about sums up the past 6 months.

Here are some of our favorite mispronunciations / sayings:

All dop (all done)
Peas (please)
Mope (milk)
Barewalk (Oliver's term for "barefoot")
Freak out (Oliver says this basically anytime Mom, Dad or Caroline is upset with him)

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Here I am again writing after a six month hiatus. I just can't seem to find the time to sit down and write. Or at least the time when I am in the right mindset. Dave is watching Avatar and I have absolutely no interest so here I go. We've had a busy summer enjoying the sunshine in the 'burbs (they say it's the foggiest summer in SF in 40 years!), a trip to Santa Barbara for Michael and Kadiji's beautiful wedding (and my birthday weekend), visiting friends and family on the east coast, and the highlight - spending a week just the four of us at Mountain Meadow Resort in the Trinity Alps. We found our new favorite family spot which we'll hopefully be lucky enough to go back to for many, many years! Mom and dad were treated to a week of no cooking, cleaning, or packing lunches. We arrived, parked the car and that was about it. Lots of spectacular hikes, afternoons by the pool, swims in the Salmon River, trail runs, kids running wild around the meadow, adult dinners while the kids played with the college staff, campfires, delicious food and more! Oliver hiked completely by himself to Josephine Lake - one mile+ up and back down, what was one of the most technical hikes I have ever done. The scenery at the top was incredible with row boats to explore the lake on, swimming and cliff jumping. Mom and dad hiked on their own to Little Caribou Lake and Upper Horsehaven while the kids stayed back at the resort and were supervised by the fabulous staff. Oliver and Caroline have loved all the traveling and promptly followed each trip with punishment for mom and dad due to the lack of excitement and 24 hour attention received at home.

Caroline has gone from "baby" to "big kid" overnight and is chasing (and keeping up with) her brother more and more all the time. She's learning new words everyday and has no problem communicating exactly what she wants; mainly by screaming and pointing. She loves hanging and swinging from the monkey bars at the playground, running in the sprinkler/water feature at the park, swimming (and has no fear of going underwater at all), her gymnastics class at The Little Gym, Curious George, reading stories with mom (she actually sits still now and listens to an entire book), riding her bike (or rather, being pushed on her bike to the school playground), playing hide and seek with Oliver, listening to "Wee Sing in the Car" when driving around town, picking Oliver up from Thistlegarten, having mommy carry her around everywhere (my particular favorite of hers!), pushing her favorite baby doll around in her play stroller, and screaming / throwing mini temper tantrums when things aren't just the way she wants.

Oliver has been challenging us lately by continually trying to assert his independence and with some extreme temper tantrums. I've gone back to work part time and spend my time worrying that it's too much for him, that he needs more one-on-one attention, etc. I try to tell myself that like everything, it's a phase and will pass. I hope at least. We've had some hour + meltdowns where he is completely out of his mind, inconsolable and anything we do try to do just makes it worse. During his tantrums he shouts things like "don't love me" which while so frustrating at the time, we have to laugh at when it's all passed. In the back of my mind I know this is all normal, but it's hard not to worry about when you are in throws of it. In other exciting Oliver news, he has mastered riding his big kid two wheel bike (mastered it within 10 minutes after first getting on it in May) and now rides around chasing the 6 and 7 year olds at the school and scaring his mom and dad. He crashed about a month ago and got his ankle stuck between his peddle and the frame of the bike which resulted in a phone call to the fire department and their dramatic, prompt arrival (5 firemen!) in a huge ladder truck to remove his stuck ankle. Mom was solo with the two kids and incredibly embarrassed when they were able to remove it within seconds.

Favorite recent(ish) Oliver quote:
"Mommy, I'm trying to take a nap and Caroline is freaking me out..."

Some of Caroline's most commonly used words:
Up - always shouted extremely loudly and aggressively
Thank you
Ice cream

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Caroline does not have many words at 15 months, but she can do a mean monster, "arrrggh". Or pirate. Ask her what a monster says or a pirate and you'll get the same response. She loves when we get to the page in her Sandra Boynton, Hippos Go Berserk, book when the hippos show up with a guest (a beast, aka monster). She immediately gives it her best, "arrrggh".

Other words -
Moon and moo; they sound the same, but are used in the correct context. :)
Ollie and Oliver
All done

No love for daddy yet. Guess he needs to start working less. :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Phrases to live by

I need to capture some of the beautiful words that Oliver and Caroline fill our house with. I will do it here, at least that's my goal.

Here's the start:

Oliver today, "I made a lot of poops. I made them all by myself. They came out of my butt."

Caroline today, "Ollll i eerrrr" and "alllll un" or her attempt at Oliver and All Done.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Caroline has started to babble like crazy in the past couple of days. Oliver thinks she can speak Spanish. Seriously. The kid makes me laugh!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Three and One!

Birthday cake smiles!

I think it is about time I change the name of this blog. We've been four Swains for over a year now. Every day I tell myself I am going to write a new post and yet the days just continue to pass by. I have no excuse other than the craziness of life with a toddler and pre-schooler and a house that is one project after another. Oliver just turned three and it really seems like he is older (both in the way he looks - he is suddenly so tall! - and in the way he acts - well, sometimes). We had a busy week celebrating with a Thistlegarten school party, Thursday play group party (which we shared with Lucy O who also turned three), birthday party / dinner for Daddy (Dave is forever going to get the short end of the stick because his birthday is so close to Oliver' least for the next 15 years or so), and weekend trip to Tahoe. Oliver is turning into quite the little skier. He has no fear and will just bomb down the mountain as fast and straight as can be. Now if we could just get him to make some turns. We were in Steamboat for Christmas and got him to ski several times (the excitement of the chair lift ride was all he needed to keep him going), but playing outside was hard because it was so cold. The Tahoe climate is much more kid friendly, and Oliver and Caroline had tons of fun sledding and making snowmen. Oliver loved being in Tahoe and told us Saturday night as we were coming home from dinner that it had been a very special day. It melted my heart! And yesterday when we pulled into the driveway after our four hour car ride home, he begged us to turn around and take him back. Even his cake and presents that were waiting inside could now sway him. Seems like we might be destined for lots of long weekend drives to the mountains and back. Or maybe we will just have to move there eventually. :)

We spent January getting back into our normal routine after the craziness of the holiday season and Mom had a much needed girls getaway weekend to Vegas with Anya and Kim (college friends). It was heaven. Christmas was spent in Steamboat with Grandma and Grandpa Riggs, Uncle Wil and Aunt Kristyn. Mom and dad got to ski a bit, Oliver had his first days on snow, his 2nd day ice skating and went into the woods to cut down a Christmas tree with Grandpa, and Caroline chased after Jasmine the dog, practiced her walking skills and celebrated turning one! It was such a nice change of pace to be away from the house and our usual routines. And to have Dave home from work for a week +. We spent Thanksgiving in Carlsbad with Grandma and Grandpa Riggs and had some nice warm pool weather. Grandma, mom, Oliver and Caroline spent a day at Legoland and Oliver still defines "getting bigger" by when he can ride the horses at Legoland (he was just a couple inches too short!)

Some other recent highlights and funny Oliverisms (there are way too many to capture them all!)...

- Caroline's first steps at Hiller Aviation Museum (trying to get to a ride-on airplane!) on Friday, November 20th.
- Caroline stood up on her own from sitting on Sunday, December 20th.
- "Turn your face around, Mommy" (when Oliver wants me to look at him / pay attention)
- Caroline hugging her dolls / taking care of them (something Oliver certainly never did at her age!)
- Caroline folding laundry and trying to get herself dressed (she loves putting hats on her head and walking around the house in them)
- Caroline's first dancing moves - sticking her butt out and bouncing up and down by bending her knees
- Oliver now loves school so much that he tells me to go home when I arrive to pick him up at 1pm.
- Oliver to mom, "Mommy, I want to switch colds. You give your cold to my cold and I give my cold to your cold." Seriously, he said that. What? I love the thoughts that go through his developing mind! :)
- More Oliver..."No, Caroline, stop being a troublemaker. Taking someone's shoe when they are wearing it is not good."
- And finally, Grandpa gave Oliver a dollar bill and some coins when he was visiting in November, Oliver a few days later said to me in the car, "I LOVE money, mom."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Messing Around

Oliver during dinner conversation tonight:

Dave: "What did you do at school today?"
Oliver: "Read, sing, paint, mess around."
Dave: "Mess around with what?"
Oliver: "Mess around with toys."