Putting up the Play Structure

A few weeks back we picked up the Rainbow All American Double Decker play structure at Costco, and it has been sitting in boxes on our deck waiting for a few days of decent weather. Oh and for a few good “adult helpers” to aid in the 30-something step assembly process. Last Sunday we got up bright and early to start sorting through the boxes. We’ll call this the “before” picture:

We sorted all the lumber.

And organized the million or so pieces of hardware. This was my pet project so I grabbed some baggies and a sharpie and was free to let my OCD shine.

Ana was very happy to help as needed.

Once my Dad and Sim’s brother Jesse arrived, we jumped right in to the assembly. Oh and my dogs helped too, mostly in a supervisory position.

Before too long, we had it off the ground.

Then my Uncle Ed and Grandpa showed up and things started moving right along.

Next thing we knew, our friends Chloe and Patrick (complete with Ayden and Owen) came to help as well. And also to provide a little entertainment for Ana.

Once the picnic table was together, the kiddos were happy to have a little snack to test it out.

Once the roof went on, it really started to take shape.

Here is the mostly completed playhouse portion of the structure.

Then we decided the kiddos had been patient enough. It was time to put on the slide!

Ana got to take the first voyage down the super fast slide!

The next day Simeon and Jesse assembled the swing portion and Ana was delighted to test them out.

And even the trapeze bar!

We had to work pretty hard to convince her to get off the swings, but we finally got her up into the playhouse where, to her delight, she discovered the ship’s wheel and telescope.

We still need to build the rock wall, put up a perimeter barrier and fill it with cedar chips, but right now we can tell that the entire process was totally worth it. Ana could not be happier, and to me, that is priceless.

You can see all the pictures of our project over here. Enjoy!

A Letter: Twenty-Eight Months

Dear Ana,
Two days ago you turn twenty-eight months old, or two years and four months, or just shy of two and a half. But any way you look at it, you are right in the middle of being two. And boy are you! You wear your emotions on your sleeve, are constantly on the go, and love to see and do new things. As soon as you wake up you ask me where we are going to go or who we are going to see. I simply cannot pack enough activities, playdates, and outings in a single day. You are always wanting more and I’d be lying if I said I wanted it to be any other way.

When we aren’t go-go-going, you are busy pretending to be like your parents. When you are being a mini-daddy, you climb up to the computer and tell me, “I gotta check my email.” or give a big sigh and said, “I gotta do some work!” But you balance that by being a mini-me as well. You are always taking your baby for a walk in her stroller, changing her diaper, or giving her a snack. You even hand her over to me and say, “Mama, can you hold Baby Amalia for a minute? I be right back.”

All your pretending to be a mommy has been great practice, but you totally prefer the real babies. So we were all very excited when a couple weeks ago your Aunt Darcie had her first baby. As soon as we met Baby Silas all you wanted to do was to hold him and kiss him. You even shush us if we talk too loudly and say, “Shh! The baby is sleeping!” Your daddy and I are so impressed and we know you are going to make a great big sister when the time comes.

To keep our schedule nice and full, I decided to enroll you in another ballet class through parks and rec. It’s a different teacher and therefore a little bit different style, but you still love it. You have such a great time and are constantly twirling around the house and shouting out things like “passe!” or “arabesque!” I guess one of these days I really need to learn what those words actually mean.

In addition to the ballet class you are also taking a “Preschool Exploration” class through parks and rec. When I was getting you ready to leave we had the following conversation:

Ana: Where we going?
Me: To your Preschool Exploration class.
Ana: I’m going to PRESCHOOL?!
Me: Well kind of. It will be a lot like preschool. We will get to do crafts and sing and play.
Ana: What’s my teacher’s name?
Me: I don’t know, hun. We haven’t met her yet.
Ana: Oh, I just love my teacher!

And they you proceeded to run around the room singing about going to school. When we actually got to the classroom you were instantly comfortable, which means you stripped off your coat (leaving it on the floor, of course) and went directly to the paint easel and started finger painting. You were so happy to get to do art projects, play with glitter and glue, check out the different toys, and then blow bubbles and sing. They even did parachute time. You were totally sold on school and every day ask me when you get to go back. Based on the success of this class (and the fact that you don’t actually get to start preschool for another year) I’m looking into putting you in another preschool exploration class this summer, but this one will be one where I drop you off instead of staying to participate. We’ll see how you do with that when the time comes.

From babies to ballet, there is no doubt that you are all girl. You love all things pink and purple. Ponies and princesses. Twirling and dancing. I can’t even relate to this because I was never a girly-girl. In fact, I was a total tomboy. So I am learning about this glittery, tulle-covered world as I go and I have to say that there is no one I would rather experience it with that you.

But as girly as you can be, you aren’t afraid to get a little dirty. We were out geocaching a few weeks ago when there was a break in the rain and I thought it might be fun to take you puddle jumping. I have to say when we explained what you needed to do, I wasn’t sure you were going to be into it. But sure enough, you jumped right in and splashed around like a pro. Now every time you are in your boots you hunt down the puddles and splash around until there in nothing left.

Lately you have been very into meeting new people and are always quick to ask, “What’s your name?” Often before they can even answer you say, “I’m Ana. I’m two. How many are you?” This generally shocks people for two reasons. One, they don’t really expect you to speak so well, let alone in complete sentences. And two, because adults generally aren’t use to people asking them how old they are. But you would be surprised how many people actually tell you their age. I think it’s something to do with the sheer innocence of childhood that they get caught up in the moment and would probably answer any question you asked them. And truthfully at that!

Ana I know I have said this a hundred (a thousand? a million?) times, but you are more amazing than I could have ever imagined. I never thought I would laugh so hard or so often, but the things you say and the realizations you come to on your own are often worthy of stand-up material. Hands down I get more comments on the things you say that I post on Twitter and Facebook than any of my other items. Combined. People are always telling me how smart and funny you are and I just smile, nod, and say, “I know. Isn’t she wonderful?”

All my love,