After four weeks of swimming lessons this summer, the kids are all swimming. Olivine is jumping off diving boards, Henry is learning the breast stroke, and Paul is busy practicing the flip at the end of a lap to push off on the wall.That means Joe and I are free to be in or out of the water. The kids can be kids, while we relax.The recent heat wave means relief is found in the water, where children will play until they pass out.Joe and I am almost done with summer school. We have had dinners outdoors, days at the bay, and we are taking advantage of the increased hours of light.
When my mom asked if I felt older this week on my birthday. I suddenly recognized that isn’t necessarily older but I do feel more grounded. Which is about being aware, content, confident, and generally feeling like my feet are planted in place. I am living more in the moment. It is summer and by now I am typically already grieving its end. But these days I am less focused on what I am not doing, or missing, or wishing I could do better.
It helps that I have support. I have a husband and children that remind to think more of others and less of self. I have a mom, who is retired and living more of a life she wants as inspiration. I like my job (part-time) and being in school. I like learning. I like deadlines and reading and writing in research. I am introverted and unashamed, yet pushing myself regularly to socialize in groups that are not always easy.
This photo sums up what I love the most these days:
Open windows, late setting sun, children only wearing half of their pajamas, reading aloud, making up character voices for Tomie dePaola books, natural light, wide eyes around me, and no other plans. Bed time stretches out and the little ones fall asleep as their bodies get tired.
Thirty-seven is going to be an awesome year. I can feel it!
So Joe rescued this kitten at his school that was teeny, tiny. He fell in love and I went into a panic. He came home on a Friday and “ta-da” the kids fell in love. I refused to let myself get attached.They named her Rosebud…Rosie for short. I took Paul to baseball practice and insisted the kitty have a new home before I came back. It needed to be bottle fed every couple hours like a newborn. Yikes!I hated to see the kids love the kitty, and then have to be the one to insist on no pets. But we aren’t ready. I am not saying “never” because I think a pet can teach responsibility and nurturing. I am just saying “not yet.” And hopefully my kids won’t hold this against me.
We usually go camping and because a heat wave hit, I am so relieved we didn’t (We will Joe- I promise). With only one night to spare, we stayed over at the Queen Mary. Sort of surprising that we have never gone. It’s in our own backyard.
After opening presents and reading through cards, we packed up early and headed over.We wandered the decks, going higher and higher. The kids loved the slanting floor and the idea that this ship is docked. They really wanted it to set sail.We had two adjoining rooms and packed plenty of snacks. I assumed food on board wouldn’t be too bad, but really there wasn’t much for vegetarians. So we walked over to Hotel Maya.We enjoyed pineapple sangria and enchiladas and the open air. This was our expression when the waiter brought over extra drinks from a mistake at the bar. Free drinks!By the time the sunset, we popped open the tiny windows and peeked out for the view. We had the chance to watch the colors change and wave to folks on boats going by. A mini getaway to celebrate Joe… the papa, husband, best friend, and teacher who I love.
The time has flown by and before the calendar changes to July, it feels like we were busy all month and we hardly snapped photos.
The boys went to their first game of the season.They had field passes and so went early to watch practice.Paul has become increasingly serious as he watches or listens to a game. He is keeping track of plays and names and all sorts of details that I still don’t understand.The Dodgers won and so these smiles are genuine.With a last minute haircut and new pants, this guy finished kindergarten. In honor of their last day, they both wore suits.Joe has one more week off before summer school begins. He moved all his stuff into storage for the new site he will be at in the fall.
Meanwhile, Henry is looking forward to school all day like Paul. He had practiced so hard for his final show, but then became super shy during the performance.This shot is from his favorite song about “growing in life’s garden” and being a flower that blooms. Grammy took him out to lunch after the show and yes, I cried. His teacher is the same one Paul had. I feel like time slipped away again and even though it makes me sad, I am also so happy for his experience with this past year.And when he looks so grown up and I realize how much he has learned, yeah the tears are hard to stop.A new season is upon us in a big way. Summer. We have been waiting long enough!
Summer will soon be here. Before that happens baseball will wrap up (one more game this Saturday), I will give finals at LBCC, Joe will pack up and move his classroom to a new school (got his first choice!), and Olivine will start swim lessons while her brothers are still in school. Whew..that is only part of what we are looking forward to this month.Strangely enough these shots of Los Angeles remind me I am a city girl in my heart. Joe and I both. I am practicing every day to be grateful for where I am. This can be hard when I cried with a student last night about the need to step away from community college while her mother is sick and her kids need attention. One week before finals. She has come so far. Yet, I completely understand. This is in stark contrast to the student I saw on Friday. She took my class three years ago and she dropped by to let me know she is graduating from city college next week. Those were different tears.This sprawling set of freeways and constant cement contributes to our need to hike to a waterfall this past Sunday. We are not naive to the toll it takes. I know our family will need to go camping, lay in a hammock, and play with sticks. We also want to spend afternoons at the beach and evenings eating outdoors. Before then, we have a little more work and focus to crank out. Wish us luck, we are almost done with the school year.
We love cousins coming to visit us and playing at the park. So low key and mellow. Nothing but good times.There was a theme of pairing upand I was seeing double.There was also a bit of wild fun for the whole bunch. Watching Mike was highly entertaining. Even kids not in the cousin circle wanted in on the fun. Also the youngest can capture your full attention because she has feathery wispy hair and a twinkle in her eye. Oh, and painted nails. Then these two eventually lost their shoes, needed juice boxes, and Ollie turned her hat backwards. That means they are staying put and digging their toes in the sand.
Sunshine, tank tops, and leaving right before anyone fell apart.We are getting good at the parenting and the parks and the play. High-five!
He is the one who makes up games on the spot to keep Olivine entertained for countless hours while I cook dinner, finish homework, etc. Paul meanwhile may be reading, sleeping, or homework (lately that’s all it feels like-which sounds like a teenager).On this occasion he was playing dolls with her. They were putting all the dolls to bed in the box so that the Tooth Fairy could come visit them all.These aren’t my favorite dolls but they were from Grammy and they are loved by these two. So for now they stay.
Henry had this fairy fly all around the house with Olivine following as he gave her directions about items to grab that the tooth fairy would deliver to the other dolls when they woke up (a.k.a. the box was opened).
Currently, Henry’s words take precedent with most issues involving Olivine, meaning his word is truth to her. We can tell her the tooth fairy and Santa are not real. And then I will later hear Henry remind her how crazy of a story that is, while Paul insists his parents only tell the truth. Henry points out how little money we have, that we aren’t able to gather all those items for the stockings, consider the rest of the kids getting presents, this can’t be some universal conspiracy. She listens and inevitably takes Henry’s side.
The latest stories surround his confessions to her about how to get off the nap list at preschool. He is full of detail about laying on the mat with his eyes open for days at a time, telling her it worked for him, he eventually was moved off the nap list due to never sleeping. The problem is Olivine loves his idea but still falls asleep. So when she seeks his advice he has all sorts of tips and as much as I hate their conspiracy being built against naps, I also love hearing their schemes.
I won’t lie. The time for just this middle bear gets shaved off all the time. But he doesn’t seem to mind. It’s more an issue in my own mind. As far as he knows, being a big brother and a little brother are the coolest roles around and he wouldn’t trade them for anything.
My cousin is taking full advantage of the girls who have birthdays less than a week apart. I love that! Right now, there is a mutual love of mermaids and like every party, they went ALL OUT.
I didn’t charge my batteries for the camera. I mostly took pictures with my phone. (Now that I am on instagram with my cell phone – this is my life now! Tt makes my camera feel like the forgotten and outdated item in my bag)
Here was the double cake:with cutout silhouettes, names, and numbers:I was a big fan of the white chocolate shells. I might have eaten three or four! So good. And I opted for cookies over cupcakes at this event.The other highlights of the party included a time lapse video of the entire party from a Go-Pro stuck to the window, a bubble lady who had bubbles big enough to stick children in, watching others watch Joe play with a singing bubble wand, face painting, mermaid bubbles, and family.
I am not Catholic but I love the symbolism that permeates the practice. At this recent baptism I heard about the water symbolizing life, the candle carries on the “light,” and the white clothing marks new life. I loved it. I sat in awe and wonder of this sacrament.And afterwards, the celebrating and joining together of family and friends felt like such a moment of making memories. I was full of hope watching the play of these small children, knowing they will grow up and we will reminisce about this more innocent period of parenting. But that we will be able to lean on each other and our faith to carry us through the harder times. This is a comfort.I look across the yard and see this one. Full of imitating the play of a mother. She wants to run around and play, but also loves sitting at the sidelines watching as she tenderly cares for a baby doll.There are these two. With the long hair in their eyes and the funny grins on their faces. They are jumping on top of the play house to escape the dragon that is flying nearby. Ahhh…the imagination.When the crowd has died down and it is almost time for a bath. The one who was baptized warms up and cozies next to me. We make a sound of surprise as she over and over opens the cash register. I can hang with toddlers all day.