Friday, August 30, 2013

4 Years Old


Here are 50 things you might want to know about yourself at the age of Four:

1.    Every time you have to use the bathroom, you ask us "leave me some privacy"- a phrase leftover from when your grammar wasn't so good. You will shut the door in the face of anyone who tries to join you in the bathroom while you are peeing. You wipe yourself thoroughly and if possible, wash your hands without help as well.
2.    This is how you wash your hands if your step stool is missing:

3. You are very sensitive to the feelings of others. If you sense that someone has had their feelings hurt, (by you or someone else) you will offer them something to make them feel better. If you misbehave and I seem frustrated, you will get quiet and eventually offer a direct apology without me prompting. 

4. If I give you a compliment that you particularly value, you will say, "Thank you Mom for saying that to me."

5. You dress yourself every day. Most mornings, you wake up around 7:15am and dress yourself before even coming to wake me up. Your outfits are eclectic and you are always very proud of them.

6. Your favorite breakfast is Nutella toast with raspberries on the side. You ate this almost every morning this summer. When Fall comes, it will be sad to transition to bananas and oranges again...

7. Your favorite dinners at home are teriyaki chicken with rice and broccoli, spaghetti with turkey meatballs, or spaghetti carbonara.

8. You are a pretty good eater right now, happily eating many different vegetables and while you pull the typical toddler move of saying you don't like something before having tried it, you are at least usually up for trying one bite of almost anything. Most times you just end up spitting it out like Tom Hanks in Big when he accidentally tries caviar, but at least you are up for trying.

9. You are a real champ at restaurants and take pride in being well behaved and sometimes even like to say judgey, superior things about the other kids in the restaurant who aren't behaving quite so well. I probably shouldn't encourage it, but it's sort of hilarious and also? Whatever it takes to keep you dining like a grown up, I'll take.

10. You hate to have your hair washed and weep if a drop of water gets in your eyes. I dread swimming lessons.

11. You love love love unicorns.

12. You go days and days wearing nothing but princess and fairy costumes. 

13. You frequently dress yourself in a rainbow fairy costume and wear it with pride to daycare and the park. 

14. Recently, you wore your Snow White costume (including the cape) on Orcas for the entire duration of the trip.

15. Tonight, the night of your 4th birthday, you are sleeping in a Sleeping Beauty costume for pajamas. When I suggested that they weren’t for sleeping in, you looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “Mom, it’s a SLEEPING beauty dress.”

16. Recently, you slept in your "princess dress" that has 10 layers of tulle skirting and woke up with the print of tulle all over your little legs.

17. You like being my "shopping assistant" and going clothes shopping with me. You take the job very seriously and it's sort of embarrassing the things that came out of your mouth while at Anthropologie recently because you must be learning them from me and you bust out with phrases like, "Oh MOM, this top is So cute!" and "Mom, this dress is the most beautiful, please buy it?!" or even better, "That dress is boring - I like this one with giraffes on it!" (actual quote)

18. You told me you are going to marry Julian when you get older. Julian is the son of your teacher who is/was in your class. He is 4 and declined your offer. He suggested maybe you could marry his older brother Aubrey. 

19. You had your last day with “teacher Jen” this week. Next week you start your new school and have been assigned to the “Green Group”.  This will be the first time you carry a backpack to school and pack a lunch every day.

20. You are learning to read and it's the coolest thing ever. You can sound many 2 and 3 letter words out and are getting better and better at figuring out all the different sounds vowels can make and how to guess at whether an O is making a "oh" or "ooo" sound, etc. It's tricky business, but you grasp the concepts and just need to keep practicing. 

21. On Orcas in early August, you were asking me the names of dogs on your new game board. I was washing dishes and had my hands full so I asked if you could try to read them by yourself first. I heard you saying, “Teh-Oh-Beh… Mom, I think this dog is named TOBY!!” It was so exciting. You read the word Toby without any help at all and the pride you obviously felt when your Dad and I congratulated you was enough to make me tear up.

22. We were reading “Where the Sidewalk Ends" last month, and when we read Hungry Mungry you went from amused to sort of alarmed and eventually asked, "This is just for pretend though, right Mom?" 

23. When we watch movies, you sometimes ask for me to fast forward through sections. Sometimes they are the scary parts, but more frequently they are the tense moments you want to skip - when someone can't find his/her mother, or is being embarrassed/teased by other kids. It’s sweet that you have such empathy.

24. You L-O-V-E roller coasters.

25. You are so articulate but have a few speech quirks that haven't gone away and I fear that they won’t last much longer. Feathers are "Feavers", together is "togever", and anything is "anyfing". I will die when you stop saying these adorable things.

26. You are obsessed with gargling right now. We hear you in the bathroom sometimes just gargling away.

27. It's important for you to feel helpful. It’s a small example, but when we were snacking on chips and salsa at the cabin, you wanted to move the food closer to where Dad and I were sitting so that we could reach it easier. 

28. You always want to be my baking assistant and are very good at cracking eggs yourself. Other specialties are peeling butter wrappers off, mixing and whisking. And of course, licking the beaters.

29. Your favorite foods are candy, ice cream, cake and cookies. I feel like I spend most of the day with you asking if you can have a treat. You are relentless. If I say no, you ask Dad.

30. If I am not telling you no about treats, I am telling you no, that you can't watch a video.

31. Every walk we take becomes a nature walk with you. You collect feathers (feavers), leaves, dandelions, and like to make bouquets out of them. Leaf bouquets are quite the specialty of yours.

32. You gave up your nap about 5 months ago, but still take them on particularly long days or when going for a long drive.

33. If you fall asleep on the way home from daycare at 5pm, you will stay asleep through the “transfer process” when I lay you on the couch and ignore all attempts at waking you. You will sleep until 6 or later sometimes, and ALWAYS wake a hot mess of tears and wailing. It’s like your brain gets rewired wrong when you take an evening nap.

34. Instead of "right side up" you always say "up side up"

35. You love to be read to, some favorites we've read this year are Charlotte's Web, a cheesy chapter book series from the library about animal fairies (I think called Rainbow Magic?), Fancy Nancy, Green Eggs and Ham, and Skippy Jon Jones.

36. When asked what you want to do when you grow up you say you want to be a veterinarian. This sounds impressive, but I think it is solely the result of a terrible book we received called "Barbie: The Pet Vet" in which Barbie is a veterinarian that helps cute puppies and kittens. 

37. You seem highly tuned into the music we listen to. Dad is usually our "home DJ" and sometimes a few notes into a song you will tell him "This song is boring Dad." and other times you will hone right in on the lyrics and ask what they mean. Just today a sort of folksy song we'd never heard came on the radio you perked up and said, "I like this song!"

38. Despite your interest in listening to music, you generally have zero interest in singing solo or even singing along to music on the radio. You get terribly shy when I suggest you sing something.

39. We frequently refer to you as “Option C”. This is because every single time you are given a choice between 2 items, you will always always always invent a third option instead of choosing one of the two choices provided to you. Examples: “Do you want a peanut butter and jam or peanut butter and honey sandwich?” Answer – “Ham and cheese please” or “Do you want to go to bed now or in 5 minutes?” Answer – “I don’t like either of those choices”

40. When asked who your favorite friend to play with at daycare is you always list every single kid in your class and say they are ALL your favorite. It is SO cute. If pressed, you will say that Alison Jane (AJ) is your “best daycare friend”.

41. When I casually asked who you wanted to invite for a birthday party this year, you listed every friend you've ever made. Penny is usually at the top of your list though. 

42. You had a cold the week leading up to (and on) your birthday and I took you to the doctor for a wheezy cough one day (you were fine). As a result, I have your growth stats: you weigh 30.8 pounds (in clothes) and measure 40 inches tall. This roughly puts you in the 13th percentile for weight and 55% for height. Pretty much exactly the same percentages as last year.

43. You’ve had the same haircut – a short bob – forever. I feel a bit sad that you’ve decided recently to grow it long. You keep saying you want it to be as long as my hair and frequently ask if it’s the same length as mine yet… It makes you look so grown up to see the long hair on you now.

44. You have the most emo pout of all time. When you don’t feel you’re getting what you want or that something isn’t fair, you sulk and won’t look up for anything.

45. If prompted heavily you will say (without a lot of passion) that you’d like a baby sister. But you are adamant that you would not like a baby brother. You have never once unprompted, asked or even suggested that you’d like a sibling. You seem very content being an only child.

46. You can be intensely social and are very outgoing, but ultimately I think you might be an introvert like your Dad. After playing with friends for an hour or so, you usually ask me if we can go home where you proceed to play quietly by yourself happily.

47. Penny (2 doors down on our street) is your most frequent companion. We’ve tried once for a sleepover with the two of you, but it ended around 10:30pm when it was clear that you were never going to sleep together…

48. One of your favorite activities is beach combing. You could spend hours and hours looking for special shells, rocks and beach glass.

49. For your birthday this year, you received a new backpack, lunch box (both unicorn themed), a tea set and some new dress up clothes. After opening everything, you said, “Thank you

50. You are so very, very likable my dear. I'm sure most parents get this to some degree, but people go out of their way to tell me how much they enjoy spending time with you. Your teacher Jen told me that all the other parents at daycare frequently tell her that you are the sweetest and most polite kid. I would love to take all the credit for this, but the truth is that you are, and always have been incredibly self possessed. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New Beginnings

I've been feeling a mixture of melancholy and excitement when I think about the next week.

Edie "graduates" from her daycare today, has her last day of daycare tomorrow when she will also bring cupcakes and games for a birthday party with her daycare friends, she turns 4 on Friday and then starts her new school on Wednesday next week. She was a little traumatized when I started her in daycare at 22 months, but even then, I didn't experience any of the concerns that are currently keeping me awake: will she miss her old friends at daycare? For how long? Will it be hard to make new friends? Will the kids be nice to her, will they invite her to sit with them at lunch, play with them at recess? Will she love her new teachers as much as she's grown to love and trust Jen? Will she be too shy to ask for the bathroom in her new school? Will she like the lunches I pack her or will her lunch box come back full and her belly empty? At what age do kids start being mean about what's in your packed lunch?

Commence spin-out.

When she was nearing 2, my main concern was whether she would be safe. Now I've added this momentous list of other worries to the list. I suppose this will never end. I can't even fathom the weird feelings that sending your kid off to college must induce.

Ultimately, everything will work out, I just have never been great at waiting for ... well, ANYTHING. I'm much happier just diving in and living in the uncomfortable place of "transition" than anticipating it.  Edie is apparently the same because she has been too pumped to sleep the last few days. Last night she actually left her room and tried to come downstairs after being tucked in - for the first time EVER. Then at what must have been 3am she woke up and just wanted to shoot the shit with Jeff. And then she woke promptly at 6:45 (early for her) and asked if she could play with the games I bought for her to bring to daycare tomorrow for her birthday. Which, in case anyone is keeping track, we had a 30 minute fight about just yesterday. Because DUDE, the answer is NO.

Obviously, I'm also so incredibly excited for all these new things. We got Edie's class assignment and it came with a school calendar that got me all pumped for "crazy hair day" and "school spirit day" and all the new and amazing experiences Edie is bound to have this year. I looked at each name on her class list and wondered, "Will this name become part of our every day vocabulary in the way that her current classmates/friends are?" And also, is Gibbie a girl or a boy name? Probably everyone is looking at Edie's name on the list and thinking her name is Eddie, so oh well...

Here's hoping Edie's lack of sleep doesn't leave her a total wreck today for her "field day" and "moving on" party this afternoon...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dinner party

The weather held for our backyard dinner with friends. It didn't photograph super well, but I sometimes think this is more a symptom of how relaxed an evening is; that photographing the event is secondary  to actually enjoying it. We had a casual dinner with everyone bringing a course, which allowed more time for the men to experiment with cocktails:

Heidi brought dessert and came dressed for the part of adorable baker in her apron:
Reid bee-lined for the cheese platter, Darrah went in for some portion management because we've learned from previous dinner parties that that kid can put away the cheese:
Enjoying cheese, crackers and fruit while the dinner is on the grill. Oh, and the kids are eating chicken nuggets, because we like to keep it klassy at the Culver house. We also like to keep it whine-free as much as possible and feeding the children before the adults makes for a more pleasant evening for everyone. And our new formula of starting up a Netflix video just as the grown ups sit down down for dinner is working well this summer.

Reid and Edie enjoying a quiet moment of "reading fairy books" together:

For our entree, I ordered a giant piece of salmon in advance and Jeff grilled it up. This is about one third of the salmon:
Darrah and Matt brought caprese salad with ingredients from their garden and we warmed up 2 big loaves of rosemary bread. We also made an Soy-based sauce for the salmon that is weird, but always a big hit (if you're wondering what's all over my salmon). I forgot to take a picture until I was midway through:
And the glorious lemon cake that Heidi made:
Reid and Edie enjoying the cake:

Friday, August 23, 2013


Just watching the neighborhood with her ponies.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Week on orcas part IV

Our last full day at the cabin was Saturday. We make snickerdoodles, and Edie was an expert assistant:

We took a family walk up the hill and off the beaten path. This one's a winner if you're able to zoom in on Edie's expression. She looks wise beyond her years and smug as all get out:

Discovering the "secret tunnel":
Running ahead:

More Diggity Dog:

More beach:
And an evening trip to visit Jeff's cousin and his family at their family cabin around the way for cocktail hour:

Obie and Edie:
The next morning was spent relaxing and packing up the cabin before heading out in the Whaler to take Edie to Bellingham to meet up with my parents who then took her home to their place for Sunday night. Jeff and I zipped back to the cabin after dropping Edie off, finished packing up and then sat in the ferry line for a bazillion hours before catching the late 8:45pm ferry. The ferry = Zzzzzzzz.

Waving goodbye to Edie and my parents at the Lummi ferry dock in Bellingham:
As I'm sure is obvious from the photos, we had a great week pretending we live on an island and own a boat, and don't have jobs. It's been a rough week of re-entry but we're back in the swing of things and looking forward to hosting a get together in our backyard tomorrow night. Cross your fingers the rain stays away!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Week on orcas part III

Thursday morning, early, we drove to Rosario Resort for Jeff to catch a seaplane back to Seattle.  He had meetings he couldn't get out of that day and it was a thousand times more efficient to take the seaplane to Lake Union than drive to the ferry dock, wait forever, and then drive all the way back into town. We felt super fancy waiting for the plane. We had to wake Edie up so she's in her jim jams:

The plane was pretty late, so we waited on these rocks for a while. And then I stood up on the rocks and the rock I was standing on rolled away and I totally bit the dust and scraped the shit out of my ankles and hands on the rocks and jagged sticks of rebar poking out of the rocks. It wasn't cute. Edie offered to give me one of her bandaids. It was super sweet. But not particularly helpful.

Jeff boarding the plane!

Take off:

After Jeff left, Edie and I went back to the cabin, packed a picnic, purchased a park pass and spent most of the day in Moran State Park, swimming and playing on the playground equipment.
Love this one:
Selfies on the beach that night:

And then we returned to Rosario Friday morning to pick Jeff up again. They almost canceled the flight due to morning fog at the island, so we were very happy to be picking him up:

We spent a pretty laid back day at the cabin, taking turns napping, reading, and watching Edie:

Out on a little row with Dad:
Jeff told her the boat was floating away with the tide, this is her trying to pull it onto the beach:

Most hilarious moment of maybe the whole week: We took the boat out to cruise the coast Friday evening and sneak a peek at the hippies at Doe Bay. Edie graduated this summer to riding in the bow of the boat, holding on tight to the metal fixture you tie ropes onto. It makes me a nervous wreck, but Jeff thinks it's the best and trusts her up there. He's been tooling around in this little boat since he was 12, so I kind of have to defer to him. I digress... So here Edie is, hooting and squealing with glee up in the bow of the boat:
Not more than 10 minutes later, I ask her if she's still doing alright up there and she doesn't reply. I crawl up to see if she just couldn't hear me over the motor and find this:
Totally asleep!! Still crouching and still clutching the little handles. I DIE.  I peeled her off the bow and tucked her in amongst the coats for a short boat snooze.

We had a beach fire later that night, roasted weenies and made s'mores:

Jeff's new technique for the "ultimate hot dog":
Eating s'mores:

I think I've got one more post to go in order to wrap up our vacation photos. Stay tuned.