Friday, October 24, 2014

Today's Arizona Adventure!

My dad plotted a motorcycle route that, upon further Google Earthing, was mostly unpaved. So we decided to take their F150 out and see how the 4-wheel drive did. It did pretty well. No slippage. Ada slept for a good part of the more exciting bits. She liked the bridge though. Overall, and excellent adventure!

This truss bridge was built in 1924 and had ridiculously wide pine board planks.  
"Ada, show me the bridge" resulted in jazz hands.

I don't think Marc saw her peeking over the edge like this. Heart attack!

An elegant country bridge.

This cottonwood was growing out of this rock.

Most of the trip was on wending dirt roads like this. We passed several really impressive ranching operations but didn't stop to take photos. Occasionally we passes a hunter campsite and once in a while we saw a cow tucked in the brush, but for the most part we didn't pass much in the way of oncoming traffic.

This might be why. This was the next section of the road. I guess they were serious when they said the road was primitive and not frequently maintained. This area, which Marc and Susan went out to explore to determine whether it was passable, was determined to not be. It was essentially the side of a mountainous hill that was slowly eroding. There was, around the corner, a large white rock face that was slowly being sheared off by people's attempts. If only we'd had a winch...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Pumpkin Patch ... Year 3

Today we went to the Freeman Farms Pumpkin Patch. We ran into one of Ada's best buddies, Sophie, and her family while we were there. The two girls had a blast with each other despite Ada being a little under the weather with a cold. We were supposed to be meeting up with some kids from her school, but they all were running a little late so we never really caught up to them. I'm a really patient person, so while we waited for our school friends to show up, we played on the tractors.
And made silly faces in the cutouts.
But we couldn't wait too long because THE CAROUSEL was the excitement of the day. Pumpkins? Pah.
Fiona, Sophie's little sister, took a spin around. That's what she looks like when she's happy.
A picture of me!
Jeffrey and Damon #TrueDetectivesSeasonTwo 

Marc and Susan were there, too! 
Ada had a rainbow butterfly painted on her face by a man in a shark hat.
In the petting zoo area, they had this sleepy pig. He didn't flutter a muscle. Just slept all day and was petted. Heaven for a pig!

Ada loved this deer in the petty zoo area. She was delighted with him and kept saying, "He's so cute! oh, mom! He's so cute!"

Seriously loved this deer.
Finally, we went into the pumpkin patch to find a pumpkin. Ada's selection was a petite little one. When we got up to the register to weigh it, the kid (who we've been assisted by for the last two years!) said, "Oh, that's yours. You can just have that." Free pumpkin!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

I want to ride my biiiiicycle...

Ada has been tricycling around like a champ for a bit now. Lately I've been thinking it was time to graduate up to a big kid bicycle since she can steer pretty well.

None of the bike shops seemed to have great, high-quality bikes in the 12" size. Target wouldn't let us get one down off the shelf to try out for "safety reasons." Our craigslist turned up nothing for used kids bikes that looked like they were in good shape. So, where do you go when you sort of give up on quality and say "meh" to safety? Walmart of course!

Ada tried out a few, but her favorite was a Huffy Rock It. It is red with flames, you'll notice. She also decided she needed a new helmet, I thought it needed a bell, and while we were over there at accessories, she decided she just had to have some Barbie elbow, knee, and hand pads. We call them her Super Pads because she acts like she is invincible in them. Want to give your kid a boost of confidence? Let them run around in Super Pads! The only side effect is that we look like insane over protective parents... which we aren't. It hadn't occurred to me to get padding...

Here's a video my dad shot of her first pedal around the block at their house. She really did great! She has a little trouble with leverage but that will come in time and, you know, with bushes.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Wizard of Oz

Tonight we watched The Wizard of Oz. I thought Ada might be ready for it, but I had some concerns that she wouldn't understand parts, would be scared, etc. I've been telling her about it -- the whole story about Dorothy and the storm, the Munchkins, the yellow brick road, the characters she meets, and the Wicked Witch ... all in the hopes that she'd better understand it. She still had some concerns...

It's always fun for me to see how she reacts to these things. I snapped photos of her face while we watched it. The shots aren't the best because of the light, but man, you can really see how she's feeling. I hope you enjoy, "Ada and the Wizard."

The Munchkins


Concerns about the Cowardly Lion, the Poppies, and "Where is she going?!"

The monkeys take off to capture Dorothy ... maybe we should have fast forwarded this part.

Oh yeah, should have fast forwarded. She was absolutely bawling about the Witch's Castle scenes.

Back to normal, though a bit annoyed that Dorothy isn't getting anything from the Wizard.

Explaining to me that it was just a dream with some guys. 

Jeffrey tweeted the experience. Here's a screenshot of his feed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kitchen cabinet updates

Our house we bought last May has honey oak cabinets throughout. They were real wood, not veneer, so overall they were in good shape but just sort of ... oakey. Mostly, I would sit at my desk for hours every day staring at the base of the breakfast bar and loathing the oak paneling they put there. It had sort of a plywood quality and I loathed it. LOATHED.

I decided to repaint. My dad refinished his kitchen cabinets last year and he has really been able to walk around like a human since then, so I went for paint. No sanding. Primer, two coats of paint, done. That sounds so simple! It took weeks. Mostly because I have other stuff to do, of course.

Here is photographic evidence!

Ada helped me get started on the breakfast bar front. That's the actual color she's painting with there. The little man she made is a snowman.

OK. Before and afters!

Truly the before. I think I started painting just a few days after this. This is the view from my desk that I would sit and consider my depth of designer loathing every day.

When we first moved in.

This evening, shot with my phone the second we got the last door screwed on.
The day we got the keys.
Done! (There is a cake under that green bowl. I don't own a cake plate.)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Draw A Person

Ada chalked this picture of Jeffrey on Valentine's Day and I wanted to post it before I forgot.

I believe it is her first drawing of a person.

While she drew it, she told us all the parts she was making. Not bad for 2 1/2. I mean, that IS what Jeffrey looks like: legs.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Phoenix Festival

Yesterday Jeffrey and I took Ada down to Phoenix to the Chinese New Year festival. We've been reading about CNY in a pop up book for the last month and we hoped we'd get to see a dragon and a lion dancer. We did not. She had been very interested in chopsticks and we were at least able to try those out.

The Sages met us there with Ada's buddy, Sophie.

As we walked in, giant inflatable hamster balls caught Ada's eye. Particularly, of course, the giant pink one. As we ate our lunch on the grass, the girls kept an eye on them over in the big field. Ada was game. Sophie tried the line but seemed to demure at the last minute and decided to pass. Ada remained committed.

Keeping in the theme of continued appreciation of Asian culture, the girls decided they HAD to ride the Ferris wheel. Ada was off and running the second we said, "Yeah, OK." Sophie was a little delayed. Hence the photos of it looking like Ada was going up alone. We thought she was, too. The guy even offered to send his daughter up with her, but Ada said she was fine. She just wanted to ride! Sophie showed up at the last second and the two friends were able to ride together.

I hauled them over, afterwards, to the main stage where watched a few kid Chinese dance performances, a tai chi explanation that was super boring, and some teen marshal arts demos to house music -- much more exciting. Our girls acted bored, but later while waiting in line, they were trying out all their moves, so I guess they were paying attention.

After the festival we went to Ikea. Ada fell asleep on the way so Jeffrey sat in the car with her while she snoozed and I shopped. I think he was quite happy about that.

Once we started loading the car at Ikea, we quickly realized that the second shelf box wasn't going to fit. Fortunately, because I'm weirdly chatty, I'd been talking to the couple in the pickup truck next to us while Jeffrey shoved. They happened to be from Prescott, too. So, of course, being the nice people they were and me the kindly pushy girl, they happily loaded up the extra Expedit into their truck and drove it up the mountain. I'll grab it from them on Monday morning. Ikea is a wondrous place!

After that business was completed, we headed onto the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. Because we like trains? No! Because Ada loves carousels and they have a good one. Our friends Tammy and Chris met us out there so that their daughter, Lila, and Ada could play on the playgrounds and ride the merry-go-round.

Tammy snapped this of the girls. We told them to smile so they'd look at the camera. They are both so cute! You'd never know it from their grins, though. They look mental.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tiny Dancer

When we decided to take Ada out of preschool, I scoured the internet for local kidlette activities. I found a Mommy and Me dance class and she's enjoying it for the most part. (She thinks the music is too loud.)

The littles all show up in various versions of "dancing" outfits. Ada is no exception. Target flouncy skirts and flowered camisoles are usually her go-to.

I thought maybe she'd like something special and it came today.

Here's her in her new leotard with attached sparkle tutu. She loves it.

This is her demonstrating her ballerina walk. She looks like a very pretty zombie coming to eat your brains.

Monday, January 20, 2014

It's official. She's potty trained.

Getting Ada out of diapers has been sort of a horrible experience ... as I've told anyone that would listen. 

The first potty I got for her was purchased around her first birthday. I thought she could see it, try it out, get used to it and just ease into this whole potty use business. Other moms I knew did something similar and were reporting in gleefully that their kid loved using the potty. My child wasn't so into it.

By her second birthday, she'd try it out occasionally before a bath and occasionally could tinkle in it. I thought, "Great! This will be easy!"

That was in June. In the next few months it didn't progress at all. September she refused to sit on the potty at all. She wouldn't do it, would throw amazing tantrums about it, and, more concerning, would tell me, "I'm a baby! I wear diapers!"

Some days, I'd put her on it in front of a movie and tell her, "You can watch this movie, but only if you sit on the potty and try to tinkle in it."

At least she was learning to hold it?

Here's a video of her not tinkling in the potty. Happily reading books, but not doing the business.

So then it was decided to just let her be for a bit. Maybe she wasn't ready? 

Then I decided that was malarky. Not ready? She's 2! She's Ada! She can do this. In the worst months of my parenting life to date here's what I tried and failed at:
  1. Bribery
  2. Having a special outing to buy panties
  3. More bribery
  4. Videos and shows dedicated to the subject of using the potty. The favorite being the episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood where they use the potty a lot. She still sings the song occasionally, "If you have to go potty, stop and go right away!"
  5. Yelling
  6. Yelling AND bribery
  7. Crying on the floor (me, not her)
  8. Purchasing the amazingly crappy book which she loves, "Princess Potty"
  9. Redecorating her bathroom into a "princess potty"
  10. Pull-ups and refusing to ever allow another diaper on her body
  11. Taking her to my parents house in NC and getting her ANOTHER very fancy Minnie Mouse potty that made cheering sounds when you "flushed" it.
  12. Explaining life to her
  13. Telling her we weren't leaving the room until she tinkled in the potty. (Brought phone and coffee for parental comfort.)
  14. Cheer squad level of fake joy
  15. Bribery
I don't know what actually worked. Something did. I like to think it was No. 13. It was the first time she'd tinkled in the potty since August. She tinkled in the potty while throwing a huge tantrum while I sat there trying to be cool while my insides were in turmoil and my fists kept clenching. Once the stream started, she looked up at me with her splotchy crying face, and between the angry sobs said, "Mommy! I'm tinkling!" Then continued to have a tantrum.

Then we had a week of similar experiences.

And yet, just two weeks before Christmas, she got it. She just did. All of a sudden, she'd willingly accept the idea of potty time and tinkling in the potty and, although there was an accident here or there, they were so incredibly rare that we were all surprised when it happened. No bribes were dispensed.

So we're done. She is even staying dry during her naps and most nights (we are still using a Pull-up at night) and it's like magic. Horrible evil soul-trading magic ... but also amazing.

Jeffrey even took her to Phoenix by himself two weekends ago and she didn't have a single accident while they were at the zoo for the day.

She uses public toilets of any variety without issue.

While I was crying and screaming, many of the people I turned to for consolation with children the same age didn't seem to be having the same kind of horrible fun I was or if their kid  was a few years older they'd tell me that some particular incident was the catalyst to success -- a rash, a cut, etc. I was cheerfully told to try M&Ms (um, duh?), charts, etc. Everyone else appeared to be calm, encouraged by their child's progress, No one admitted to ugly crying in bed late at night to their husband that they weren't a good mom and were totally fucking up parenting.

I AM totally fucking up parenting ... but at least Ada is potty trained.