Friday, April 19, 2013

California, part 2

We spent three wonderful days with our friends the Dowers. Joel and Mary moved to Arroyo Grande last year, and we have missed them.  Chloë and Louella had a fabulous time together, as usual. 
We got to meet baby Hugh!  Although he wasn't much of a baby anymore. 
Petite Elaina (almost 14 months) and Humungous Hugh (almost 5 months) next to each other.
We ate lots of good food, and spent a lot of time at the beach.
The next day we went to another beach.  It was surprisingly chilly the whole time we were there, but we didn't care.  It was the ocean and sunshine!
Bryan and Joel actually got out in the cold water. 
The girls found some shelter from the cold wind.  Note that Chloë is soaked.
Love this man.
Playing with sand crabs.

Since Mary cut my hair for four years, I was eager to take advantage of her hair chopping skills.  It turned out perfectly.

We explored the little Danish village of Solvang.
It's really too bad these guys moved so far away from us.  We really like them a lot.

We went to Santa Barbara, and had to check out a little place that was apparently well known in the area: La Super-Rica Taqueria. We stood in line for about a half hour just to order our food.  Shortly after we sat down, Mary said "I think that's Rob Lowe over there.  And maybe Gwenyth Paltrow?" I was sure she was wrong, because I'm from Idaho, and we know celebrities don't really exist in person. But I glanced over at the table 20 feet away from us.
Far left, Rob Lowe.  Yup.  And some lady with a blonde ponytail that could have been Gwenyth Paltrow.
But wait, is that the lead singer from Coldplay?  Oh yeah.  Chris Martin.  Hasn't he been married to Gwenyth for 10 years?  And they have two kids together, Apple and Moses?
Sure enough.  It was Gwenyth Paltrow.  And Chris Martin.  And Rob Lowe.  Just some celebrities out with their families for a late lunch.  Despite our being distracted, we really loved the food.

Our last stop at the beach, even though it was pretty chilly.

It was such a great vacation.  Maybe we'll do it again sometime.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

California, part 1

We got back from our fabulous vacation to California a couple of weeks ago.  We had signed up for the Southwest credit card last year, and finally decided to put all of those free miles to good use.  We paid virtually nothing to fly to LAX and back.
Both of the girls did relatively well on the flights, which was a merciful answer to prayer.  Chloë was totally excited about all of the juice and peanuts.

When we landed in LA, we had to take a shuttle bus to the car rental lot.  Chloë was thrilled.  She had never been on a bus before.
We spent some time at Bryan's grandparent's house.  It was fun watching Bryan survey the house and yard for memories.  And of course the girls had a fabulous time doing some of the same things their daddy did when he was a little boy.

Elaina, discovering Spring. 
Both of the girls loved playing in the sprinkler.
Especially Chloë.

It was snowing when we left Idaho, so being in 80 degree weather was spectacular.
Elaina still likes to taste things.  She did not approve of the dandelions.
The girls' great Aunt Bonnie and great Aunt Becky had some birthday presents for the girls to open.
You can see that the girls just enjoyed the sunshine and warm concrete.

We even managed to get a decent group photo. L to R: Chloë, Bryan, Bess, Aunt Bonnie, Gramsie, Grandad, Elaina, Jeffrey, Michael, Becky, and Scott.
Chloë had a serious staring contest with Michael, her first cousin once removed.
Elaina snuggled up to Jeffrey, her first cousin once removed.

The day before we returned to Idaho, we got to see my Aunt Denise and Uncle Craig, and introduce their great nieces to them.  We had a lovely dinner, and Chloë showed them her dance skills, and Elaina demonstrated her walking skills.

We had such a lovely time visiting with so much of our extended family in California.  And of course we didn't mind the warm weather.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

14 Months Old

Elaina is 14 months old now. The poor little girl has actually been pretty sick the last couple of days.

I try to stay level-headed when it comes to my kids being sick, but sometimes being a nurse really makes it hard to be a mom. I am so grateful that I can just call my dad, give him a quick symptom review, and he can tell me what I already know. Make her drink. Watch for a rash. Keep up with her ibuprofen and tylenol to keep that fever from getting back up to 103.
(I love this face.  It reminds me of Chloë at this age.)

When she isn't sick, she is such a happy, fun, perky little kid. Even this morning, when her ibuprofen had kicked in, she was sleepily bouncing on the floor, saying “happy, happy, happy.” And last night, she was sleeping very restlessly, but she rolled over and said “ha-loo-loo, ha-loo-loo-ya.”
She likes playing games.  Peek-a-boo, chasing and tickling, or the good ol' "One, two, three" fall over game.

Much like her sister, she loves things with buttons. I think she could sit in one place and push a button all day long. She also loves stuffed animals and baby dolls. She'll hold them against her chest and pat them, and say “oh, baby.” It is adorable. She loved discovering sand while we were in California. She kept tasting it, but always had the same unimpressed reaction.
She was also quite intrigued with the grass.  She even found a tiny yellow flower.
She is able to communicate all of her basic needs now, which is such a blessing. Sometimes she will still resort to the pointing and grunting, but if I tell her to use her words, she'll let me know what she needs. Hungry: “un-gee,” thirsty: “dir-tee,” up please: “uh pee!” down: “dow,” poopy: “poopy.” She's also great at giving kisses; leaning in with puckered lips and saying “muUUH!” And she'll even throw in the occasional love you: “uh ooo!”

She loves books.  Sometimes she'll even let me read a book at my own pace.  Usually she just can't handle the suspense of waiting to turn the next page, and speed-flips those pages.  But sometimes she will actually sit quitely and study the pictures.  This is one of my favorite parts of our mornings.
And sometimes she wants to read me a book.  

She really likes being outside.  Even if the sun is a little bit of an adjustment this time of year.

She is such a little crowd pleaser, waving and saying “hi!” to everyone. She loves showing off her new walking skills. When we stand her on her feet, and say “can you walk?” she gets a huge grin on her face and looks to make sure everyone is watching. It's funny that she isn't the hugest fan of lots of hugs and kisses. I don't know if it's because her sister is constantly trying to shower her in affection, but she definitely gets annoyed with Chloë's attention.
Surprisingly, her eyes are still pretty blue.  And her eyelashes are so pretty and long now.
The really strange thing about this kid right now is her teeth.  I'm not quite sure what is going on.  She does funny things with her jaw sometimes, and I'm not sure if it's because her teeth might be hurting her.

Two weeks ago, her upper left later incisor broke through her gums.  So she doesn't have her middle top teeth yet, but one of the side ones.  And then, yesterday, we realized that her right upper pre-molar is half-way through her gums.  Her pre-molar!  And she doesn't have her front teeth.  I'm hoping it's just a weird fluke in teeth not knowing what order they're supposed to be in, but I'll admit, I'm slightly concerned with her dental development.  I suppose we'll wait a couple of more months and see what happens before we start worrying too much.  We Botkins are quite late when it come to teeth.

It's kind of fun to look back on what Chloë was doing at this age. I was kind of surprised at how similar some of the pictures are to the ones I have here of Elaina.