Joe and I recognize the need for “a place for eveyrthing” and easily start shoving or piling which leads to chaos quickly.
My friend Jenny gave me a website (iheartorganizing) and of all the ideas I really liked her cord organizer. So we dumped the cordsand with an empty box (6 dollars at Target) we made cardboard dividers and covered them in paper. By the end we had sorted and used our label maker to help:I am looking forward to the saved headaches and avoided arguments by this simple idea. We did this in one night, together, and are ready for more.
Olivine likes to point out how long her legs are or remind you that she is not so heavy when wanting to be carried. We hardly take her stroller anywhere, she is wearing underwear all day, and not wanting to sit in a booster or highchair ever (because her brothers don’t). There are many times a day I hear “me- big girl!” Today it was because she wanted to go to swim class (for threes and up), kick the soccer ball (couldn’t keep up with Henry), ride with Joe on his bike (he couldn’t find her helmet), take a shower rather than a bath (I gave her a bath), and climbing out of her crib three times without help. We can hardly keep up is what I am trying to say.
Honest confession: I don’t want to keep up. This last of my babes has sprouted much faster than the others. I want a baby to hold and cuddle and carry in a sling. I am having difficult recognizing the family with three kids. Didn’t I always have a baby, either around or growing inside?
I can’t hold time back or reverse it. I can only find moments where I give in. Tonight was that moment. I hate the idea of her being able to climb out and run around and maybe get hurt. So rather than sleep lightly to listen for an escape, Joe quickly took the bars off and converted her crib into a bed.The boys love the “couch” and she is within reach of the floor. As I tucked her in she smiled. I told her she was a big girl with a bed just like her brothers. The need to be flexible and open to change is a challenge, but a necessary quality in parenting.
The most recent realization of being older than I feel has come as a result of blood tests and an organ ultra sound. The results of which were emailed to me during my road trip. I learned I have liver disease and a gall stone.
What?? Who me?
No need to panic. I am vowing to currently hold off on the internet searches of webmd until my next appointment, later this week. I definitely don’t feel a youthful invincibility that I might have felt just five years ago. I am much more quick to ask “what should I do?” and “can this reverse?”The most immediate response from my doctor is to say farewell to alcohol (not the cause of my liver problems, but also not helping). I am not a drinker by many standards. But in the heat, and a work free summer, a cold beer or cider sounds lovely. The date works out well enough, my birthday has passed and the month is coming to a close.
Other changes: consistency in exercising (might need a pedometer) and less desserts/bread. This is way scarier than the alcohol. My vegetarian diet contains a decent portion of carbohydrates, that I am going to start moving away from. Don’t worry family: I will still serve you pizza, sandwiches, and pasta but I might be adding in a bit more greens with an extra helping for momma.
Before we drove directly into our old neighborhood for a burrito and some leg stretching, we wandered around Lover’s Cove (in Monterey):We let the kids get out of some of their energyand I sucked in as much of that sunshine combined with ocean and reflected sky that I could.I held hands with my little one and dug my toes in the sand.Meanwhile Paul was simultaneously elated to have found this net and heartbroken to learn we would not let him bring it in the car with us.Before crossing the bridge to our hostel in Marin
we made sure to stop in the Marina and take note of the difference between the bay and the ocean. We looked out at Angel Island and Alcatraz, as I made mental notes that these were places to visit when our kids were a tad bit older.
Happily, we saw friends.
People usually make a place much more special feeling. In the city there are memories everywhere I look but those don’t matter as much as the chance to catch up with or just tag along like we did, and feel like we are in a home away from home. Not tourists or people passing through, but we are hanging out.We made it just in time to celebrate Dallis’ birthday
with pizza, balloon, lotto tickets, and ice cream.We stayed up late and laughed a ton.These are friends we wished would move to Los Angeles (you better at least visit more, now that you bought a Prius).In the morning, we laid under open windows exposing the crispy air of the forest.
We last minute decided the best souvenirs of the city might come from Chinatown.
A special place in Joe’s heart after working there with youth in Americorps.
So we splurged on wooden swords and a red umbrella.
We bought poppers for the walking and sesame balls for snacking.
We played in multiple parks.We tried to catch a sunset
and even asked strangers to take a family photo of the five of us.We saw Daren (which my kids voted for over my offers to take them on the trolley or the Farmer’s Market in the Ferry Building).
We drove across the new Bay Bridge while reading zines
and catching glimpses of the tearing down of the old bridge.
We visited the Exploratorium
and found an echoing tube that sounded like it came from Goggles! by Ezra Jack KeatsHey, this room looked like the Mystery Spot in Santa CruzThere was plenty to see and hear and touch, like any well made kid’s museum.My favorite pieces were these chairs and the “potty fountain”(Olivine’s name for it) which none of my kids would drink out of. It was a water fountain made from a toilet. I saw lots of funny sibling posed photos.A close runner up was this outdoor installation that was modeled after the tides and kids could climb around in it This museum is located on Pier 15, which ten years ago, looked so different. The city is endlessly changing with construction in almost every corner, and at the same time rich with history and world famous landmarks. It is familiar and yet strangely new, all at the same time.Paul wanted to see Giants stadium
(He adores sports these days).
I think these little ones saw more of the city than we thought possible.
We walked a bunch (with no stroller and no baby sack). This scene is from Lands End (out near Sutro Baths with new trails)
Of course we had burritos and falafels in the Mission,
packed up the car at the end of the week,
and headed home under the big sky of highway 5. I read aloud the last fifty pages of the Cycle of Lies book I borrowed from the library (fascinating-about Lance Armstrong).I come home from trips like this:
a. so happy to see my bed
b. fired up to plan our next adventure
c. sad we didn’t have more time (john, serena, nicole, phillip, sojourner’s’) to visit with all the people we miss
d. thankful that we have a family rhythm that includes summers and family vacations
The whole push for this road trip that transpired in less than week, was visiting my Auntie Lily. She is the younger sister (the Olivine) to my Ji’chan. She is the sibling (besides my Aunt Dorothy who has since passed away) that I am closest to.
She lives in Salinas, down the street from the high school my grandfather attended before World War II.I have been here often enough that I can instinctually find my way from the freeway, pass the downtown, and out among the shrinking small farm fields my Aunt’s house sits.
We had dinner together and played in her backyard.
We brought flowers and jam, picked up at a farm stand and a coffee shop. She asked about the boy’s enjoying their magazine subscription (for the last year I had no idea who was paying for it- so sneaky). She told me about her falling a couple times in the last year, I gave her my apologies for not showing up at my grandfather’s memorial (she would never ask, but definitely seemed confused). In the conversation, more than once she called him my dad, which is how I feel.
I thought for sure, procrastinating this visit, that I would burst into tears when seeing her. I regret not having seen her when she came down for the memorial from last year. She reminds me of my grandfather in a multitude of ways. However, the tears followed the visit, driving back to the hotel. While visiting, I was immensely thankful.I read books with Olivine on a blanket my grandfather’s mother made from scraps of fabric. A fifty year old blanket that looked incredible.
And to look up and see my children bonding with my aunt,
We promise to return, to write more letters and make more phone calls,
maybe bring tents to sleep in the backyard.
Then headed back to the hotel. We stayed in Monterey so we could also visit the aquarium,
which is always worth the cost and the crowds and the parking.
The two special exhibits featuring jellies and tentacles left us in awe.Plus the boys asked a dozen times to promise to let them return when they were eight and sign them up for the dive class.Oh how we love aquariums!Then we hit the road again:Just a bit further north.
A Friday ritual. A single photo- no words-capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
This is my new favorite:chai latte out back, at the “new to me” table and chairs (thank you, Pilar).
I am debating about painting the set red and possibly investing in an umbrella.