Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Search!

So, dear blog readers, as you are probably aware, we are attempting to find an au pair/nanny for the wee-ones.

It's been a rather enlightening process. I now know more about visas than I had ever hoped (or wished) to know. I also know slightly more about time zones, although not as much as one might think because I can never seem to remember whether or not I count backward or forward.

Luckily none of our au pair candidates seem too concerned with my horrible math skills, which is good.

I've interviewed 6 so far. Two of them were definitely not the right fit. One was very sweet but not quite what we were looking for, and three are as close to Mary Poppins as we're going to get. I do have two more that I'm hoping to interview this week so we can make a decision and get the ball rolling on the dreaded visa process.

I'm only half joking when I say that the bureaucracy surrounding the visa process is almost enough to make me a small-government Republican. Although I have a feeling that there are a number of Republicans who support the complicated, redundant, and utterly confusing visa system.

Anyway. It's possible that next week we will have signed a contract with an au pair, which is very exciting! The kids are super excited about the prospect of having what Penelope calls "a new aunty". They have enjoyed "meeting" the people I've interviewed and showing off all their toys and their room. I think it will be a wonderful experience for all of us.

Here are some things I've realized though, while doing these interviews.
1. Fahrenheit is a silly system of temperature measurement
2. Currency conversions are a PITA
3. We need to either all use military time or all use AM/PM. I vote for military time.
4. Hearing someone's voice really makes a difference
5. Our visa system is needlessly complex

In addition, the common thread running through many of these interviews - and which I found to be surprising at first, but not so much in retrospect - is that many of them are excited and surprised by Salinas weather. I forget that in most parts of the world people actually get seasons with real snow in the winter and very hot days in the summer. Salinas is either overcast/rainy, sunny and cool (windy), or sunny and mild. Some days it's all three (early morning, noon, afternoon). It's why we can grow food year round and after having only lived here for 2 years I've already started to take it for granted.

While the process has been exhausting at times, it's been good. I have a good feeling about our top candidates and I'm really optimistic that whoever we choose will become a positive addition to our family.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Growing Pains

Lately both Pen & Griff have been complaining that their legs hurt. Penelope insists that she has a broken bone (or two or three) and almost every morning she comes half-limping out of her room.

It's no wonder. She's grown almost a half an inch in the last 2 months.

And Griffin has grown 3/4 of an inch since his last doctor's appointment.

I swear I am not feeding them growth hormones.

It does make me wonder just when they'll peak. Will they grow quickly and then stay the same height forever? My mom claims this happened to her, that she was the tallest in her class and then stopped growing. Or will they keep growing until they tower about the rest of us like leggy trees?

I'll probably end up the shortest member of my immediate family. Which is just shenanigans. I'm 5'8" for goodness sake.

I am doomed to be dwarfed by my own offspring. Like my mother before me. And her mother before her (wait, no. Grandma is taller than my Aunt, so this doesn't have that much generational prescidence).

If this continues, however, then I shall forever be in the very literal shadow of my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I will have to be careful at family gatherings so as not to get stepped on.

(At this point if Penelope were awake she'd say "mama, that's just silly. You're being so hyperbolic." And she'd be right. Because that's what I do, and that's where she gets it from).

Ok, I should sleep. I have to take a group of my yearbook editorial staff to yearbook camp tomorrow. Yup. Me. Yearbook camp. Oh the irony, it BURNS.

The Childcare Conundrum

Last week Bryan was offered, and accepted, a new job at a marketing firm here in Salinas. We are all very excited - B especially, this means he'll get out the house every day, woot!

The office is in downtown Salinas, so he'll be able to walk to work (or ride his bike), which is another plus. This means we don't have to deal with packing up and moving, since neither one of us loves to move. Although I'm not in love with our house, it offers some pretty big benefits for us - especially now.

Since our daycare provider can't take or pick up Penelope from T-Kinder, we have to find an alternative. We're fortunate enough to have a nanny lined up for July (a coworker has a close friend in Spain who wants to spend a month in America and perfect her English). So this just leaves August through the rest of the school year.

After discussing our options, we decided to try and find an au pair to come and live with us for the school year. We have the extra bedroom and bathroom downstairs (which is basically just used for storage). So we have the space.

It also allows for our kids to experience something new. A different culture, maybe another language. We have one applicant from Canada & one from the US, but most of our applicants are from Europe or South America.

And since all our applicants can drive, this means that we have someone who can pick up Pen from school - and Griffin. If all goes as planned, the Bubs will do part-time pre-school, which is a way to ensure social interaction with his peers outside of the daycare setting and it will give our au pair a chance to explore, meet people, or even take a class at our local community college. I remember what it was like to be a stay-at-home-mom, so I know how important that time can be, and how recharges you.

I'm really excited (and a tad nervous) about the process. But mostly, I'm hopeful that we'll find a good fit for our family. Someone who will loves the kids as much as we do and who will become a part of the family.

Wish us luck!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


I am fortunate to know a lot of really amazing fathers. But my husband and my dad are two of my favorites. So here's some pictures of them being awesome.

My dad carting around a very tired Bubs
Bryan and Penelope on the beach
Playing on the beach with the babies

Right after Bubby's birth. This is one of my favorites.
Dad with Sissy at the Tour of California.
I could wax poetic about Bryan and my dad. But it's 10 and I'm tired. So I'll wax poetic about them tomorrow (on actual Father's Day, to their faces).

Suffice it to say, I love my husband and my dad. They're great fathers, and I'm lucky to have them both.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Never go to Costco with your children

At least, never go ALONE with your kids.

The other day I decided that I lived in Bizzaro-World where I was an octopus woman with 8 arms and thus could totally handle taking my children on a trip to Costco, Office Depot, and the gas station all by myself. At snack time.

This was my dialogue with the children every 5-ish minutes.

"Griffin, we are inside, indoor voice please."
"Penelope, please stop walking backwards, you're running into people and it's rude."
"Griffin please get up off the floor."
"Penelope, while I appreciate your desire to help and push the cart, it weighs 6x as much as you do and you keep running into things. Please let mommy push."
"Griffin, my darling, get off the floor. Now."
"Penny, my sweet love, I think your song is beautiful, but we are inside and you need to lower your voice."
"Griffin. Off. Floor. Now. 1... 2..."
"Sissy, Costco is not an appropriate place to play hug-tag"
"Bubs, please walk on the side of the cart, not in front of the cart."
"Pen, please watch where you are twirling, you almost ran into that person"
"For the love of Zeus, Griffin Walter Rodgers, my sweet boy child GET OFF THE FLOOR."
"Yes Sis, that's a lovely pas de cheval, but the people behind you are trying to get to the giant tubs of mayonnaise, please move."
"Griffin, if you're going to attempt to slide on the floors then you're bound to get hurt. Get up and walk it off dude."
"Delpi, now is not the appropriate venue to race your brother."

Now, repeat.

At Office Depot I was having the "indoor voice" conversation for the 1,000th time when an older lady in front of me turned around and smiled at the kids and said.

"Wow, I wish that trick worked for my grandkids. They haven't gotten the hang of indoor voice yet."

I smiled, because neither have mine. The reminder works for 30 seconds until their brains reset and then I have to remind my son yet again that his banshee-like powers need to be disguised from ordinary people or else the government will come and lock him up and study his mutant ability.

We got our errands done with only 1 potty trip, no blood, 1 jammed thumb, no lost cars, no crying, 1 sibling argument, and 6 million requests for water.

Not bad.


At a Fork

Not a literal fork, mind you. But in a lot of ways we (as a family) are at a big turning point. Some of it hinges around job stuff, some of it hinges around milestones, and all of it is happening both too quickly and too slowly.

The kids are first.

With Griffin day potty trained and 70% night trained, we're completely done with diapers and pull ups. It's all undies all the time. This makes our changing table pretty useless; right now it's housing a rather large pile of stuff I should deal with but don't want to.

Our baby isn't a baby. He's not even a toddler. He's a pre-schooler. He's writing his name, speaking in large and complex sentences, and becoming increasingly independent. This is a huge transition that really snuck up on me. I feel like one minute I had a baby and now I have two kids.
Griffin wearing my wedding ring. It fits his finger. I must have skeletal fingers...

Griffin is even spending less and less time in our bed. Which is mostly good because he's enormous and is a bed hog.

At his last pediatrician appointment he was 3 feet 5.25 inches. All his 3T stuff is pitifully short and his 4T pants are starting to look more like highwaters every day. I'm going to have to start buying him 5T clothes. He just turned 3.

Sissy isn't any better. Child is outgrowing her 6s and we'll have to buy 7s for the fall. SEVENS. She's FOUR.
Does she look 4 to you???

This week she started acting camp after her 3rd dance recital (good gracious, really - 3?!). And she has a performance on Friday. After this camp, she can start participating in some of the children's theater's normal productions. Based on how much she loves camp thusfar, that's going to be a reality for us. Soon I'll have to schlep her to regular rehearsals in addition to ballet and possibly basketball (she asked to join a basketball team, I think she's got another year before she's eligible).

If all goes as planned she'll start Transitional Kinder in the fall. She's getting taller by the second (and has regular growing pains, usually it's "mama, my leg bones hurt") and isn't gaining much weight - so she's pretty gangly.  I had to take in her recital costume because it was way too wide and I have a feeling my sewing machine is going to get lots of use as she gets older.

I am glad she's busy - making friends, having fun, exploring... I wish there were as many opportunities for the Bubs, but 3 is a hard age for extra curriculars. This summer I'll try and sign them up for swim lessons, but he won't get to do too much until soccer starts up.
I love this picture. They're sharing wearing Bryan's backpack. They really do share everything.

My babies becoming kids makes my ovaries ache. And while I really, really, really want to try for #3 ASAP (as in yesterday), we're really not in a place to make that happen. Another baby would also mean another 4+ years of childcare (we can see the light at the end of the tunnel now) in addition to all the other challenges that come with newborns and babies.

There are also a lot of really wonderful things that come with babies. Both Penelope and Griffin have asked for more siblings and babies are loves - I miss the loves. We just have to decide if all the benefits of expanding our family outwiegh the challenges and then: when could we reasonably add to the family without sacrificing more than we can afford?

Thank goodness for reliable birth control (thanks Planned Parenthood!!!!!)

There's a lot I want to do with my career. I'm taking some of the steps toward that now. Having another baby wouldn't prevent those career moves, but they would significantly delay them. I'm young, so I have time to become Empress of the World. But I still haven't decided if my career timeline or my family planning timeline triumphs.

There is always adoption - and we haven't ruled that out. If that's the route we decide to go, then we'll have to wait a few more years. We need a slightly larger place and it would be nice to have the big kids in school full time before we add a toddler into our lives (because if we adopt we'd like to adopt a toddler or a pre-schooler).

So there are options. And there's time. But if you know me or if you've been reading my blog regularly then you know that I'm not the "wait and see" type. I have to be for this, but it is sometimes frustrating to not know what I want and then not know the best way to get there.

The other fork in our road is job related, but not mine. Nothing is set in stone so I don't want to jinx anything (yes Neil deGrasse Tyson, I know I know), but Bryan does have some possible opportunities on the horizon that are both exciting (because yea change!) and scary (because boo change!). They are 90% exciting. The 10% scary has more to do with not knowing exactly how things are going to pan out rather than scary about the specific change.

I COULD be more vague, but I'll spare you.

Suffice it to say, this will be an eventful summer.

Speaking of which, I have 80% of tomorrow's summer lesson plan completed. Time to finish the rest.

Popular Posts

Penelope's Growth

6 years: 50 inches, 47 lbs
5 years: 48 inches, 42 lbs
4 years: 43.5 inches, 41.0 lbs
28 months: 39 inches, 33.1 lbs
26 months: 38.5 inches, 32.1 lbs
21 months: 37 inches, 31.8 lbs
18 months: 35 inches, 30 lbs
15 months: 34.25 inches, 28.8 lbs
12 months: 32 inches, 27.1 lbs
9 months: 30.5 inches, 25.1 lbs
6 months: 29 inches, 21.2 lbs
4 months: 28.5 inches, 17.13 lbs
2 months: 24.75 inches, 12.12 lbs
At birth: 20.75 inches, 7.15 lbs

Griffin's Growth

5 years - 3 feet 11.25 inches (47.25 inches), 51 lbs
3 years - 3 feet 5.25 inches, 40lbs
18 months - 34.5 inches, 27.13lbs
12 months - 32 inches, 26.5lbs*
10 months - 31.75 inches, 23.4 lbs
7 months - 29.25 inches, 21.4 lbs
5 months - 28.5 inches, 17.9 lbs*
4 months - 28 inches, 15.5 lbs
3 months - 27 inches, 13.10 lbs
2 months - 25.125 inches, ?? lbs
1 month - 24 inches, 10.13 lbs
At birth - 22.5 inches, 9.1 lbs
*with diaper

Izzy's Growth

2 months: 23.25 inches, 10.8 lbs
At Birth: 22 inches, 8.11 lbs

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