Holidays and Special Occasions

For Christmas Chanler got a pedal bike. The first words out of his mouth upon seeing it were “what…is…thaaat???” He was stunned! A few minuted later he wanted to ride it, so we went out to the street in front of the house to try it out.

what...is...thaaat??

Last year we got him a balance bike after I read about them and how they can help kids learn to ride a bike faster by teaching them to balance without having to think about pedaling at the same time. It sounded reasonable and was a good alternative, since we had a tricycle and Chanler seemed too little for a “real” bike.

So the test was here – would the year of practice on the balance bike do what it claimed? We assumed the best and went out on the new bike without training wheels.

It worked!!! within 5 minutes Chanler was riding down the street on his own (with daddy or mommy running close behind). It was amazing.

Chanler's first bike ride

Today (his second riding day) Chanler is riding like a pro. He still needs help with starting and doesn’t have the most graceful dismount, but he is riding his bike (just like the pro balance bike articles said he would.)

Sacramento Zoo

We went up to visit my sister Michelle, her husband Sergio, and their son Joshua this last weekend, and we decided that it would be fun to go to the Zoo together. Chanler had a blast seeing all the animals.

Lately when I am putting him to bed he has been requesting that we talk about animals. He never knows what animals he wants to talk about, that is up to me to figure out, but the one constant is that he wants to talk about “not muddy fat ones.” My cousin Cari gave him one of his favorite books which has a bunch of animals making lots of noise while the mommy runs around trying to keep them all quiet so her baby can sleep, but of course he is not sleeping. One of the animals is a “muddy fat pig” – so we usually end up talking about all the other animals in the book.

So now we have a much wider variety of animals to talk about – all the animals from “Aunty Michelle’s Zoo.” He saw penguins, although the penguins were in a “special” temporary tent, and they were in this small little enclosure that could not have been more than 4 by 4 on the front side. But Chanler enjoyed it, so we will have to take him to see a better penguin exhibit sometime where they are not so cramped for space.

He thought that the lemurs were hillarious – the lemurs were wrestling with each other and knocking each other and having a great time. I was having a bout of allergies, and sneezed pretty loudly, causing one of them to stand up and look over at us. The other one promptly grabbed the other’s tail and pulled him over backwards – great fun :)

The snow leopard was a great hit as well – he came right up to the front of his enclosure and just stared and stared. He was ignoring all the people and appeared to be willing the snack cart across the street to come closer. We are still talking about that snow leopard every single night!

Chanler definitely likes to be a big brother and takes that role very seriously. He was a little scared of the “big cats” – the lions and tigers (but not the snow leopard) – and has asked me a couple of times if I will save him from the big cats. And since he sees himself as Jessaleigh’s guardian, he has also said that he is will (or already has) save Jessaleigh from the big cats. Such a chivalrous young man already!

Right after a break to play on the play structures, we went through the reptile house (he keeps asking me the name of the house at the zoo). He was excited to see a small crocodile in person, as well as frogs and snakes and lizards. We even saw a green snake, which was very exciting since we have a book about a young yellow snake that turns into a green snake as he gets older.

They had a animals from around the world show, and at one point they asked for a volunteer to go up front to help out. He got very excited and wanted to know if the lady zoo keeper would call his name and ask him to go up to the front and help. He kept raising his hand any time that he thought that she was asking for volunteers, he really wanted to have her call him. We were talking about it later, and I explained that they needed a bigger kid to help, since they needed her to hold up the snake, which was a pretty big boa constrictor. He of course was pretty confident that he was strong enough, although after we talked about how big and heavy the snake was, he told me that he might want me to go up with him to help him hold the snake a little bit. After the show, he got to go up to the front and pet some of the animals that were in the show. He got to touch the big boa constrictor, a lizard with a blue tongue, and a hedgehog. He was pretty excited about the hedgehog, I think because it looks a little spiky, but it was not, it was “comfortable” to touch.

So now we have lots of fodder for talking about animals at bedtime – makes it a little easier on me :)

Happy, Happy Birthday Baby . . .

At least that is how the song goes in my head (dating myself or something) and yes I know you (Chanler) are not really a baby anymore, you are a “preschooler”, but you will always be my baby.

Love you and Happy Birthday!

Just had to note the cuteness of taking the same picture in different years!

Nutcracker in 2007
Nutcracker Chanler 2007

Nutcracker in 2005
Nutcracker Chanler 2005

The World Traveler

Chanler’s favorite things about England:
1) You get to ride a bus, subway train or intercity train EVERY day
2) Pigeons
3) The airplane seat had a TV with it’s own “mote” (aka remote)
4) Pizza
5) Horses (i.e. The Royal horse guards and mounted police)

Chanler’s least favorite things about England:
1) The fasten seat belt sign
2) Boring museums and ceremonies
3) Seeing out the airplane window
4) The stairs at the Rokeby Guest House

Not a baby anymore ... He's 2

Well I can’t believe it – Chanler turned 2 today! He had a great day!
All week he has been asking about riding the train and I have told him over and over again
“on Saturday.” Well this morning I finally got to say today and his eyes lit up!
There were of course tons of last minute things to do for the party. For his 2nd birthday we decided on a train theme (hence the asking about riding the train) and Scott came up with the brilliant idea of riding Cal train to a park. This worked out great, we got on in San Jose and rode to Palo Alto (thus all our San Jose friends didn’t have to drive far and all our Menlo Park/Palo Alto friends didn’t have to drive far either)

Chanler LOVED the train ride although he was more or less oblivious to the fact that his friends and family were riding with him. We got to the park (via a tunnel – another big deal for Chanler) and set up. Michelle and I had earlier that morning dropped off a car full of party supplies so that we wouldn’t have to bring everything on the train.
Chanler got to play with all his friends, eat some snacks, and then have cup cakes! He actually blew out the candle all by himself and dug in, at least long enough for pictures. Soon after he started the cup cake Chanler noticed someone else’s Strawberry and decided that was much nicer than some cup cake thing. (not that I really mind)
Everyone said they had a great time (the weather cooperated for me and was a lovely 65ish and sunny) and were sent home with personalized foam trains (which I had been gluing together ALL week) filled with goodies.
After we had pizza for dinner with family and close friends before we rode the train home and opened presents.
I think Chanler had quite a day. Hopefully he won’t expect this kind of day tomorrow or for a long time.

Chanler's Second Christmas

We spent the Holiday with family this year at Michelle and Sergio’s House No traveling (by plane at least) to see far flung relatives. It was a wonderful time. All of Chanlers Grandparents were there for a few days along with Uncle David who managed to make it back from Arizona.

Highlights:
Chanlers second experience with snow – much happier than the first
Opening Presents – Chanler really got into it this year
Uncle David’s new nick name – “Crash . . . Bang” and Mohawk!
Making 4 kinds of Christmas cookies and eating them all before everyone left
Family Time – Playing cards, chatting at the table etc.

Overall I hope/wish all our family get togethers were this relaxed and fun.! Thanks Michelle for hosting!

Pictures

Halloween

Chanler was a fireman for Halloween.

Now Scott and I are not big fans of this supposed “holiday”, but because Chanler was invited to two costume parties, I figured he should dress up as something.

So I made a fireman outfit complete with spotted doggie (thank you Grandmama), fire axe, fire hat, etc. I have to say Chanler was one of only two children at the costume parties to have a homemade costume.
I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing . . . ?

Pictures

Easter Egg Hunt

Jesse’s Mothers Together small group decided to have a easter egg hunt this year (I guess we could have last year except that none of your kids were moving yet . . .)

Thanks to the Kembel’s for hosting a great time. The kids had a blast looking for “well hidden” eggs.

More Pictures