Dear Otis- 4 Years!

Dear Otis-

Today you turned 4 years old. To use a favorite Otis phrase “what the what?!!!”

You are morphing into a big kid in front of our very eyes. From week to week, and even day to day, the amount of growth you show is astonishing. A few weeks ago you used scissors two handed to make one snip. This week you came up with the idea to decorate for your party with ninja drawings and cut them out all on your own (Dad drew this one, but the cutting job is 100% you). Fun fact- you draw and eat right handed, but you cut left handed. Your dad is a bit ambidextrous so I think you get that from him.

A few months ago your art work was squiggles and circles and now you draw ninjas and rainbows and balloons and all sorts of cool stuff.

You are a perfectionist and will often go through multiple sheets of paper and grunts before you accomplish what you want. Full disclosure- I’ve heard you mutter “damn it” when your hand doesn’t go where your brain wants it to on the paper. Your patience with activities and other people is phenomenal, but you are still learning to be patient with yourself.

We’ve given you a lot more independence in the last few months and you’ve thrived with this freedom. You used to be nervous about climbing on the playground. I thought you were scared, but I now understand that you were afraid to fail. Ever since I started working out with Baby Boot Camp you’ve become a climbing fiend. I’m next to the playground, but not on the playground with you and not watching your every move. This has allowed you to experiment on your own. You are so proud of your newfound climbing skills and seeing you proud of yourself has absolutely fed my soul.

You have just recently started to enjoy playing by yourself. You create fantasy worlds with your legos and action heroes and will even CHOOSE to go to your room and play on your own (not just do it when we ask you to). You came to work with me the other day and entertained yourself for 4 hours without a screen! You didn’t even want to leave when it was time to go home. Again, this is a big kid morph that seemed to happen overnight.

You transitioned from daycare to preschool this month. It was hard to close the Tia y Tio chapter of your life. They’ve been such incredible influences for you.

But you were ready to transition. We had 3 days of tears at drop off and now you look forward to school and seeing your new best buddy, Bodhi. Here are some shots from the first week of school. Some might notice that you’re a bit of a ham.

Your ability to navigate relationships astounds me. You understand when someone needs a hug and you offer it. You understand that Lucy is still learning things that you already know. You exhibit such patience with her when she messes with your stuff and such enthusiasm when she learns new things that you mastered years a go. “Good job Lucy” is a frequent phrase from your mouth. She is so lucky to have a big brother like you!

This ability to understand relationships also means that you are quite good at pushing people’s buttons when you want to and quite good at playing your parents. We’re on to you and see through most of your shenanigans, but your tactics have definitely gotten more cunning.

You love to dance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY4Eq1hoBY8

You love the water.

You love pizza night at Pinky’s, trips to the comic book store with dad, and your current favorite movie is Toy Story.

You are one of my very favorite people to hang out with! You make me laugh constantly and you fill me with pride on a daily basis. I love you 4 year old Otis!

Love,

Mom

P.S. You had an amazing bday today- NINJA PARTY and gifts of legos, arts and crafts, transformers, and a scooter!

An obstacle course courtesy of Dad’s ingenuity and creative talent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhY-jwROeNY

Nerf archery aimed at bad guy ninja balloons.

A rousing game of Sensei says lead by Uncle Toothpaste (Greg to most).

And, of course, cupcakes!

Happy Birthday Oats!

Vay-cay-shun

Unless you count a work related trip to Portland in 2012 or 36 hour Sonoma County trips during both pregnancies, Brad and I have not had a true vacation since our Kauai honeymoon in 2009. Don’t get me wrong, there have been lovely trips to Virginia and Lake Tahoe in between, but they have revolved around visiting with family. Vacation for the sake of vacation; vacation for the sake of seeing new sights; vacation for the sake of doing whatever we want whenever we want took a 9 year hiatus. I’d also venture to say that this was our very first vacation from parenthood. Long story short- the last 4 days have been glorious!

We chose Seattle for a few reasons

  • We could fly from Santa Rosa airport which means from our front door to the gate is 45 minutes (yes that includes long term parking and the most pleasant security process ever)
  • We like the Pacific Northwest vibe

We are even more glad we chose Seattle after our visit!

We averaged 3 record shops, 2 hummus menu items, and 2 breweries a day. If you know us at all, you know this is pretty much our ideal lifestyle.

Fremont brewery was Brad’s favorite beer-wise. Old Stove Brewery was our favorite taproom- can’t beat looking over the water while you sip.

Our favorite neighborhood was Fremont. So many quirky shops. We even found a cider tasting room, Schilling.

We loved that we could walk everywhere. According to the pedometer in Brad’s phone, we averaged 20,000 steps a day.

When we weren’t walking, we took ferries. Loved the ferry to Bainbridge Island! Great views and a fun spot to explore. Wine tasting in a comic book shop?! Yes please!
Brad tried to get some pics of me on the ferry . . .

We decided to stick with scenery shots.

We checked out Ballard Locks- pretty fascinating how they move all that water around.

We even got our Marvel fix at MoPOP!

It was such a treat to spend time just the TWO of us. Thank you Seattle.

P.S. The kids were well cared for by Grandma and Grandpa. We heard tales of water fights, tractor rides, zoo visits, and ninja warrior games. I believe there was only one accidental incident of baby throwing and said baby went unharmed. Both kids were returned to us freshly bathed and with suitcases of clean clothes. I believe our front walkway was even swept and who know what other chores they snuck in. 5 stars to the babysitters!