Monday, June 20, 2016

10 years

In the grand scheme of human existence, ten years is relatively small. Depending on how long you live, it can be a relatively small part of life too. But at age 32, ten years is almost a third of my life... and I have been married for that long.

Add in the fact that we were dating for almost four years before that, meeting at age 18, in 2002, means that we have been together for 14 years! Plus, Blake pointed out on our trip that we are only four years from being together for half of our lives, and the percentage of our life together will just grow from there.

In a world so full of divorce and short, quick relationships, I can honestly say that I am proud that we have made it to this point. To anyone looking in from the outside, let me be the first to say that our relationship isn't perfect. The last ten years have had some hard spots, especially during the time that we were trying to become parents. We have had arguments, small and large that we had to work through, together. But we weathered each storm, together.

If I have wisdom to impart, it is relatively simple, and nothing that hasn't already been said. For example, find compromises. One battle relatively early on was that Blake couldn't stand to eat dinner with a messy kitchen. I, on the other hand, wanted to eat while dinner was fresh, and deal with dishes afterwards... but if I sat down to eat, he would still clean, and I would feel guilted into doing dishes early. But we worked it out. I prefer drying to washing, he is the opposite. So, my side is now to make sure dishes are dried and put away before he gets home, and he does the washing and dish washer loading (immediately after dinner is made so he can eat). We both are happy, and both contribute. Laundry is similarly divided- he folds adult clothes, I fold kids. Point being, arguments will continue until you find a compromise that works.

Second, give each other room for personal interests. I get that Blake needs video game time, and I try to make sure he can unwind with it often. He knows I like doing my races, and he lets me sign up and run. We have done races together, and I have played video games with him, but for the most part, now, after a decade together, we no longer feel the need to do as much together. We enjoy each others' company, and do things together that we both enjoy, but also feel free to seek our own interests apart too, and our relationship is healthier for it. 

We celebrated our ten year anniversary with a second honeymoon of sorts. We drove up the coast, just like we did ten years ago.





Appetizer type lunch with a beautiful view.


Appetizer type dinner with a beautiful view.


Me on the deck. 

A bunch more from this year:

The trip was great! Our first stop was in Solvang, just like ten years ago, but instead of hanging out in town and seeing a musical, we decided to go on a bike ride to a few of the vineyards around. Even though I had originally thought we would do ten miles, we ended up only doing six miles or so, as the hills were way worse than I had expected! (I even had to walk my bike up one of them!).

We stayed at the same Bed and Breakfast that we did ten years ago, though it has a new owner now, and I think that the refurbishments made over the last decade were for the better. They had an amazing restaurant, where we really wanted every course to have more food than it did.

We drove up the coast again, like ten years ago, but instead of Ventana, we stayed at a an AirBnB water tower with an amazing view! We loved all the wildlife there, and enjoyed the peace and tranquil time together there.

While we loved everything we did, I think that the memories that will stick with me most are the conversations that we had, covering our kids, our history, our memories of previous trips, and what we hope to happen in the future (and random stuff like video games ;-) ). I am truly blessed to have a husband who I can also count my friend, and spend hours talking to contentedly. I am so thankful for our time together over the years, and am happy to say that we are as happy with each others' company as we were ten years ago.

I would also like to thank my grandma, my parents, and my in-laws for making this trip what it was. Without all of your contributions, it wouldn't have been possible with our current budget, so thank all of you for being generous, and gifting us your portion of our special trip. Also, I would like to thank my parents and my brother and sister in law for watching the kids, getting them to all their places, and keeping them entertained while we had our time together, and actually had time to finish a conversation. :-D

To Blake, I love you so much! Here's to ten (plus) more great years together!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Preschool Year 2 Complete, and Next Steps

Here is Grace on her first day of this school year, and then the pictures from today. I can't believe we have already made it through two years of preschool! She looks so much older than she did on the first day, and the little girl in the yellow dress is long gone, but replaced with a much more mature, kind, thoughtful girl than the girl that is left behind.

Next year will be so different in so many ways. First off, to any uninformed, there is this newfangled thing called "Transitional Kindergarten."

In 2010, in California, a new rule came into affect that seriously affects (possibly negatively) both of my fall babies. Basically, instead of the start kindergarten as long as you turn 5 before December 1 (if parents decide), there is a new strict September 1 cut off. In other words, since Grace was born in October, and turns 5 after the cut off, she CAN'T be in Kindergarten at our local school.

Does it matter that gymnastics has made her gross motor skills excellent? No. Does it matter that she can write some of her letters already, has a great memory, or has learned to sound out and spell words (like frog! so proud)? No.*

If she started at our local public school in fall of 2016, she would fall into the fall kids gap, and be put in their two year transitional kindergarten program. It is a blend of preschool and kindergarten, takes things really slow, and once the kids exit, they go into first grade.

I still might have considered it... if it wasn't for two other mitigating factors. First off, there is a public Montessori program at our local school that you can enter through a lottery. I've seen and read great things about Montessori, and the way that it has every child able to advance at their own rate in each subject, which I think would really benefit both kids, but especially Grace (really strong in some areas, weak in others, while I think Remington gets most things quick).

Here's the catch. If I took option 1, and put her into transitional kindergarten, she would be locked into their two year program, and would not be eligible to join the lottery for the 17-18 year, because she was already put into a class. So, I went with option 2, put her into transitional kindergarten for 1 year at the same preschool that Remington will be going to, plus giving her one more year of familiarity and routine. Now, I will be able to try to get her in the lottery for the Montessori classroom for the 17-18 school year. The school did let me know that usually around 90 apply and only 30 make it, but at least I will have done my best to give her that opportunity. If we fall in the other two thirds, then I'll be bummed, but it will still make more sense to my "old school" way of thinking, and she will have a regular kindergarten class. She will also have the opportunity to be advanced as the school decides, either through GATE or just skipping grades if she really is far above her classmates, but I honestly hope that the Montessori structure will allow her to achieve her best, while still being with age level peers.

The other mitigating factor is that this way, for one year, the kids will be at the same school. Same field trips, same performances, and bonus, I will get to be in the working force again!

I have literally been working for months on getting all my paperwork squared away, but I have officially done it, and come September, I will be on the sub list for their preschool on the mornings they are both in school. I also might be on the elementary sub list, but its more complicated (different side of the school, and would need to get care lined up for the non-school time for both of them, since they will just be in the AM).

So, big changes coming our way in September! But for now, we will enjoy our summer together with all of the activities we have planned.

*I might have been able to get her to test into something, maybe, honestly I didn't look into it, because I have definitely already missed the Montessori chance for this year, and besides it will be helpful for the same preschool thing for the year. But a friend with a fall baby told me about how crazy strict they are, and how her son didn't make it over something minor, and I didn't want to put Grace through all that if I have a different plan anyways.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Two videos

Don't really have time to post, but just throwing up two videos of my kids in their main sports right now. Grace is into gymnastics and Remington is learning how to skate and shoot for hockey.