Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Bucket List: Plant Flowers

There’s an interesting thing that happens when you prepare to sell your home.  You welcome a stranger in to advise you on what needs to be fixed, changed, removed, added, etc. and then you get to work.  You exhaust yourself making all the small repairs you've been putting off for years.  You know, all those things you’ve planned to do but never carved out the time or money to actually do, yeah those things.  You sell stuff you don’t use, donate a bunch of useless items and de-clutter a ton!  And then guess what happens?  You fall in love with your house all over again.  Suddenly it’s new and shiny and you begin to question why you put it on the market to begin with.  That’s been our experience anyway.

We are still planning to sell our home; it’s just that we’re in absolutely no rush.  We’ve both decided that unless we get what we’re asking for it, we’re good to just enjoy this lovely home of ours and sit tight.  In the meantime we’ve been busy working on it (mostly outside now that the inside is done) and feeling quite accomplished, if I do say so myself.  As I posted a couple of weeks ago, we bought Grace her very own little playhouse for the backyard.  Well, here’s the latest update with that.  A few days after putting the damn thing together (quite the process), G found an even bigger and much cuter playhouse that only cost $30 more.  She then somehow talked me into returning the one we spent a day building so that we could buy the new bigger playhouse, which is now taking up residency in our backyard.  I will admit, having a cute little covered seating area, window covers, a toddler-sized mailbox and a porch makes for a much cooler playhouse.  Definitely worth the 30 bucks!

The side yard is now completely finished with the final touch being the new patio set and umbrella with lights we just added so it’s on to the back end of the yard.  Right now it’s all dirt back there but we have plans to add gravel and a swing set in the next month or so!  We’re trying to invest in things we can take with us when we leave (if we leave) and even though gravel isn’t one of those things, I’m hoping it helps us sell!

The past two weeks have been all about planting flowers and Grace has been my #1 helper.  She has gotten lots of use out of her princess shovel and watering can if only she had better aim.  Most days I’m left covered with dirt thanks to my little assistant but I guess making a mess is part of the fun, right?  The flowers we’ve potted have definitely added to the ambiance out back and I actually thinking we need to add even more!  These days we’re lovin’ the new patio set so much that we’ve had dinner outside every evening this week and I’m thinking we’ll continue to do so for the rest of the summer.  Anywho, that’s a bit of what’s going on around these parts – lots of yard work, lots of planting flowers and lots of outdoor fun. :) 

And now I must leave you with this ridiculously adorable video I took of the Bean yesterday.  We’re going to the lake with family and friends for the 4th of July this year and I made the mistake of telling Grace about it a week before we actually go.  Let’s just say she’s having a hard time understanding why the 4th of July isn’t NOW and why, oh why must we wait to go.  Only a few more days baby girl!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summer Bucket List: Run for the Zoo

I still have some catching up to do on this family blog of mine but along with lots of summer activities comes less time to sit down and write.  Right now the Bean is taking a nap while G catches up on her DVR shows.  It’s a Sunday afternoon and for once we don’t have a single place we need to be, so blog time it is!  With all the cousin fun Grace had at the Zoo and the immense cuteness of all the kiddos running around together, I tried remembering to take pictures but only ended with a few.  Thankfully my mom is quite the photo taker so most of these are from her.  Thanks ma!

Let’s start with my favorite photo of our Zoo day, shall we.  Grace and her cousin Mia checking out the Polar Bears.  *Heart melts*

Staying with tradition we joined my mom, nephews and niece for the Zoo Run and were joined by my mom’s boyfriend this year, who is a favorite buddy of Gracie’s.  It was just starting to get hot out so we managed to do the one-mile family fun run without breaking too much of a sweat.  I was so proud of Gracie because that little girl ran almost the entire way, as did her mommy.  I was pretty darn proud of Georgia as well for keeping up with our speedy two year old.  Way to go babe!  While my girls ran, I hung back with Mia pushing our empty jogging stroller while checking out the animals.  This outing finally made us realize that our days of using a stroller are over.  I’m not sure when the Bean decided she was too big to be pushed around but she’s over it, for sure.  The only people I pushed in the stroller on this day were our 13 and 9 yr old nephews, lol!  They did enjoy the ride. ;)    

The Family Fun Run went back behind the Zoo and through the middle of the grounds, which meant that we got front row seats to the Elephant Exhibit – my favorite!  The end of the run had a big finish line surrounded by Zoo volunteers cheering on the runners.  I LOVED that any time we passed a group of volunteers cheering; Gracie would kick it into turbo speed motivated by her adoring fans, haha!  Here’s a clip of our little runner in the home stretch.

After the run, we grabbed lunch before heading out to see all the other animals and their babies.  Gracie’s favorites were the seals, the giraffes and the elephants.  After touring the grounds we spent the rest of our time in the play area where they had a huge climbing gym for the kiddos.  Grace was so filthy after playing in that thing that I had to take her shoes off and wash her feet because she was covered from head to toe in dirt and had rocks in her shoes.  I took this as a sure sign of a good time!

As we ended our afternoon and headed for the exit, I asked the Bean to let mama take one last picture of just her.  This is what she gave me.  The new “smile” face I now get anytime I ask her to pose for me.  Oh how I love this face. :)

This photo was taken literally 5 minutes after putting her in the car seat.  A great day indeed!

Summer Bucket List: Visit the Zoo – check!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Bucket List: Swim Lessons

Our little fish has officially finished her first session of swim lessons and she did great!  The plan for the summer is to fit two sessions in one season since we missed the registrations deadline for lessons last summer.  The months are moving right along and I can’t believe that one session is already done.  The Bean is set to start her next parent/tot class in July but with how well she did the first time around, we’re thinking we may bump her up to the next level like we did with soccer.

Just to be clear, Gracie can’t swim on her own.  I don’t know that any two year old can, but have any of you ever done a parent/tot swim class?  You basically do the same 5 things over and over for two weeks and in our session, the Bean hit a wall after about a week…  Like her mama, she grew bored.  The same thing happened with the final weeks of her first soccer season.  With this gal it works a little like this – show me, let me try, now I’ve learned it, I’ll do it a few more times… Ok, I’m ready to move on to the next thing now!  G and I appreciate the importance of staying with the class and teaching Grace to finish what she starts, have patience and develop her ability to remain focused; but we’re thinking we may have to change things up with class #2.  It just feels like a much better plan than to do the same things, again, for 2 more weeks.  Who knows, we’ll see I guess.

Grace loves the water and you could see that from day one.  She was quick to acclimate to the water temperature and followed instructions as well as any typical two-year old would.  She’s not a fan of going under the water but we gently pushed her out of her comfort zone in week two and her and I went under the water several times.  Her coach showed us what to do before going under to prevent her from swallowing water or having it go up her nose and it worked.  Here’s a little breakdown of the things she accomplished in 2 short weeks!

Our little fishy CAN:

- Hold on (unassisted) to the side of the pool and kick her legs
- Walk down the stairs into the big pool on her own
- Go completely under the water’s surface (she’s not a fan of this, hehe!)
- Blow bubbles in the water
- Walk from one side of the kiddy pool to the other, all by herself
- Lay flat on her back in the water
- Jump into our arms from the pools ledge
- Move her arms and legs simultaneously in a swimming motion in the water
- Rotate from belly to back with our help without freaking out.  That one took some practice! :)

If I had to pick a favorite part of our first swim lesson experience, I would have to say it was watching our gal introduce herself to another little girl, M and make friends for the first time all on her own.  The two of them were stuck like glue from the first lesson on and G and I ended up befriending M’s mom and dad in the process.  We’ve since exchanged contact info and have plans to get the girls together later this summer.  Aren’t they just the cutest?  I so love watching Gracie’s confidence grow in social settings.  I’ve always been a social butterfly while G is more reserved.  I’m hoping she gets some of mama’s outgoing-ness!

Here are a few more pictures of our swim lesson fun! :)

End of session cupcakes!

Summer Bucket List: Swim Lessons – check!

23/52: Jump!

This trampoline is old as dirt but still does the job!  
The Bean always has a blast at auntie Sara's house. Weeee!

Friday, June 13, 2014

*Happy Pride*

Pride was a bit early for us this year and for good reason.  Last year, Pride was held in late June (obviously, with June being Pride month) and my God, it was HOT.  Too hot.  It was the Bean’s first Pride and our fair skinned little gal melted in the sun even though she was covered in sunblock and wore a hat all day.  Apparently it was so hot and there was such an overload of negative feedback to the NM Pride committee, that they made the executive decision to push the event up 2 weeks this year.  Thanks you NM Pride Inc. for making the change.  It made our day at the parade and fairgrounds much more enjoyable. :)

We were joined by our friends Christine and Alex for this year’s Pride events starting with the parade.  The Pride Parade is, by far, my favorite event of the season because it really is the most family friendly of them all.  Two mom and two dad families along with tons of kiddos are out in full force.  I think the biggest reason for this is that the parade is always held pretty early in the morning and at that time most of the younger (and childless) LGBT folks are still at home sleeping off their hangovers from the night before.  That’s how it was for G and I, pre-Gracie anyway, lol!

Feeding Mama some Nerds! :)

Grace was super excited to see the floats as they passed.  She was given so much candy you would have thought it was Halloween and because it was a special day, we let her have at it even though it was not yet lunchtime.  She wore her rainbow colored “I am loved” t-shirt and rainbow sandals and looked like the cutest little gayby you ever did see!  We learned our lesson from the year before and came equipped with not only sunblock and hats but an umbrella too!  After the parade we had some lunch and headed to the fairgrounds.

Because of the heat, we skipped the Fairgrounds last year so this was our first time visiting in awhile.  It was crazy to see how much the event changed and a little sad too.  In years past, there were big stages set up with live musical performances in different areas of the park.  This year, we looked for a stage only to find that the one stage set up was indoor, in a big arena.  It was so dark in there that you couldn’t really see anything and all they were playing was extremely loud rave music.  We felt so OLD as we quickly pushed Gracie’s stroller out of there.  Everyone we walked passed as we left was pretty drunk and the whole dungeon like place smelled bad.  Once we got back out into the light, we had to laugh at the reaction we had of the place.  I told G, “Well, it’s official… We’re those old lesbian moms now”.  Her response was, “lets go get a drink”.  Ha!  We did and I for one liked having an afternoon beer out in the sunshine with all the other moms and dads way more than hanging with the cool kids.  It did suck to feel so old though…

The highlight of the day was coming across a kids “Fun Zone” complete with water slides, jumpers and carnival games.  Grace LOVED it and somehow got our friend Christine to get in the slip-n-slide with her.  C is such a good sport!

The Bean made a few little friends as she always does and got soaked playing on all the water toys as we watched her run from place to place from our seats.  We stayed in the kid area for the remainder of the time we spent at Pride and I’m happy that we did.

You often hear about how much your life changes when you have kids and from time to time you forget.  Then you have an experience that shows you just how much it’s changed and those reminders can sometimes be a bit shocking. This was definitely a different Pride experience than any we’ve had before and I’m thinking that this type of Pride will become our new normal in the years to follow.

The funny thing is, I’m totally cool with it.  I think I can speak for Georgia and myself when I say that although so much has changed, we both prefer the sunshine over a rave party. ;)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer Bucket List: Farmers Market

Spending the afternoon at a Farmers Market is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I went to a super awesome one in Seattle many years ago.  Unfortunately, up until recently there really wasn’t much of a Farmers Market scene in NM and so there weren’t a lot of options for me and the crew.  This changed in April with the opening of The Yards, an urban market located at the old railway yards, in the industrial Downtown area.  With all the pictures that were shared on FB and IG in May of the location, I was dying to take Grace and bugging G about it just about every weekend!  We then found out that we would need to find something to do one Sunday while our home was being toured for an open house and figured, what better timing!

The Yards was way cooler than I expected because, I didn’t know what to expect.  On the Sunday that we went they had a traveling circus that put on a fun show, which had Gracie’s eyes glued to the group of performers from beginning to end.  She was focused and fascinated sitting still the entire time.  They had live music, walking tours, healthy foods and arts and crafts for the kiddos.  The landscape alone was amazing!  The Market is located in an area that is often used as sets for movies that are filmed in NM.  The most notable movie that shot some scenes here was the first Transformers movie.  Pretty cool, right!
Grace decided she wanted to be little miss independent on this day and refused to be held or hold our hands.  I’m assuming she did this because there was just so much going on and while we usually make her hold hands when out and about, we loosened the reins a bit.  We were obviously watching her like hawks and kept her within arm’s length, but I loved being able to just stand back and watch her explore.  It really made me realize just what a big and independent gal she is quickly growing to be.  She wanted all the little trinkets that were for sale on the tables we passed, but had no problem when we told her, not today little one.  She was treated to a strawberry popsicle instead and that was enough for her.  I was so proud of our big girl. 

I LOVE the picture above.  It was taken (by Mama) just minutes before the Bean broke free of us to check things out.  Oh how I love these two.
I’ve always been so very proud to call myself a New Mexican and to be from a place that has such a deep and rich culture.  If you’ve followed my blog for any short length of time, I’m sure this is old news.  On outings like this one, in which I can discover some new and interesting location with my little tribe, I find myself loving NM all the more. 

And on a completely unrelated note, Gracie is officially a homeowner, hehe!  The girls have a playhouse at their Nani’s and while we would have loved to get one when Nani did, neither G nor I were willing to drop $450 on an oversized toy of any kind… Then as luck would have it – we found a smaller one for half as much and just couldn’t resist.  My oh-so-handy wife put the house together this past weekend and Grace has not stopped playing in it since.  Here she is just chillin’.  That Gracie, such a character! 
We tried telling Grace last night that she couldn’t go out and play in her house because we were both inside making dinner.  We then realized that we’ve been working on the yard like crazy so that Grace CAN be out there on her own.  It’s totally safe and with all the flowers she loves to water, her huge sandbox, her water table and her NEW playhouse, it’s a total fun zone that she wants to spend all her time in.  Now, if only we could get used to the idea of not acting like helicopter mamas… ;)

Summer Bucket List: Visit the Farmers Market – check!

Monday, June 9, 2014

22/52: Morning

This is the little farewell face I get as I leave for work every morning followed by, “bye mama, love you, happy birthday!”  P.S. My birthday is in October. ;)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

2014 Summer Bucket List!

It’s that time again, my friends – Summer Bucket List time!  This is the 4th year that we’ve made a SBL and I’m super excited because the Bean is finally old enough to really get into the activities we have planned for the next couple of months.  We actually started checking things off our list several weeks ago but I’m a total blog slacker these days and I’m just now getting around to sharing our list.  Stay tuned for catch-up posts on our visit to the Zoo, our afternoon shopping at the Farmers Market and the start of swim lessons.  The pictures from Gracie’s swimming classes are pretty much the cutest things I’ve ever seen and she’s doing amazingly well so I can’t wait to share.

I’m looking forward to seeing the other SBL’s that are hopefully shared by my fellow bloggers over the next couple of weeks and K (from Role Playing with Kids); I’m talking to you lady!  We miss you blogging – come back to us!  I know Angela from Please Mommy No More Daddies and Amanda over at Little Monster and Mommies do a Summer Bucket List as well, so I can’t wait to see them.  And if you’ve never done one, please join us!  I think the best thing about making a list like this is that it helps parents like me who lose track of the weeks and realize once summer’s ended that we didn’t do all we hoped to do.  For the wife and I, to-do lists of any kind help us stay on task with family outings and such.  Or, kind of stay on task should I say… “Go on a summer vacation” is on our list this year and we haven’t even started the process of getting Grace a passport.  Did I mention that our trip to Vancouver, BC is in just over 3 months?  Yeah, we’re cutting it close but like I’ve said time and time again, the bigger Grace gets the more I realize that we now permanently operate in warp speed and there’s not much we can do to slow it down.  We just have to fit things in when and where we can folks. :)

*If you’re looking for ideas to make a list of your own, here is ours from 2012 and 2013.
And behold!  Our 2014 Summer Bucket List!

If you do make a Summer Bucket List, be sure to leave a link to your list in the comments below!

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