Cheery

Yes it’s been humid and hot.

I know there is drought across California.

Today I wore a sweater without sweating.

These raindrops instantly changed my mood.

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The dark clouds moving across the skyline. The treetops blowing and windshield wipers hard at work. It all makes me smile. I like to think this is in some part due to all those years in San Francisco. Nothing can change my mood or make me feel more happy to be outdoors than rainy weather.

Birthday for Grammy

We started preparing for this morning, weeks ago. Like a small storm brewing out over an open ocean. Little by little the anticipation was mounting.DSC01576 We did shopping and planning, putting all the finishing touches together last night. We set up the table for breakfast (knowing we wouldn’t have the energy) because her one request was pancakes (vegan indeed).

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When Paul saw the card from Joe that said Mom, he was very confused. Marriage makes you siblings? No Paul, but Joe did inherit a mom.

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A few simple gifts that were found and kept hiddenDSC01591

along with homemade cards from little ones.
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There was plenty of laughter and love to fill up our kitchen tableDSC01578

and even some wishes made.DSC01580

We took a walk over to the park and somehow squeezed ourselves onto the teeter totter built for a family.DSC01587

Being outside feels cooler than inside with the humidity as high as it is.DSC01583

Our party ended just as Olivine was getting ready for a nap.

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A lovely Sunday.

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Happy Birthday Grammy!

Better Put

When I lived in France and began studying the bible in French. I realized how there are some proverbs and psalms that are put more poetic in French. Ever since then I can’t help but be drawn in by the simple beauty of the language.

It reminds me of cursive. The way one sound blends into the next.

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This was the simple label on my croissant bag this morning. I love it! I could use this phrase to describe my children. Parfait!

Bonding Time

We went through a season of sharing aloud chapters in a book. But I will say at this current moment Paul is caught up in the tide of writing which I fully want to embrace. I am diving head in to his new love. I guess it is in part his genetics (I have been writing books since I can remember) and the other part may be due to his teacher engaging the students in Writer’s Workshop. There is a lot of freedom and choice as students explore their own topics of interest. **I was there this morning witnessing first hand the magic in his classroom.**
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The anxious part of me fears the day when my boy and I can’t connect. That our relationship will reach a canyon of distant knowledge and humor that I can’t quite grasp. Then reality hits. I will build a bridge. I will shout. I will build fireworks to communicate with him. I will go far to stay this close to my boy.DSC01562

He is witty and wise and he has these recent creations he is referring to as “let me give you a quiz.” Then his eyes light up when you answer and he reads with intonation and suspense that keeps his siblings captivated.DSC01563

I was naive enough to think that I could easily replicate my own. But I kept confusing myself and finding that my creative juices, similar to my pretending and imagining skills- are a bit dull.DSC01564

They still giggled at the final reveal.DSC01565

And then there are these books. They are like a choose your own adventure book. Yet he hasn’t read any. So now I am trying to track them down. Where is he learning to write like this?
Thank you God for a boy who is confident and funny and willing to take risks in his learning. He is passionate and creative in world that says this is being driven away by technology and the internet. I don’t buy it. Give this kid some paper, a pencil, a stapler, and scissors…moments later he will produce a book.

 

 

Happy Place

In lieu of yesterday’s post being somber and sad, I was determined to look around and notice the positive. This is a phrase I grew up hearing my mother use. And yes, sometimes it was in reference to her happy place…Disneyland.
DSC01525 I love cousins…especially when my kids squeeze a tiny one into a life size sandwich.
DSC01532 I love writing and book making.
DSC01515 Paul has been writing up a storm and this always makes me smile. I still see invented spelling and he’s got these two characters going on a fantastic adventure. I notice inspiration from dinner, his real life friendship, and his imagination. So good!
DSC01513 Googly eyes that are sticky makes packing lunches more fun
DSC01544 Artwork by Henry is always cheerful. It’s a chance to see his world through his eyes.
DSC01539And yes, that is really all it takes. I don’t feel back to myself. A bit scattered and sad, but maybe the heat is not helping. Lunch with Sarah helped, a morning meeting with the amazing librarian at my school helped, and a tall glass of sparkling water brought to me by my husband definitely helps.

Monday Blues

It’s a new week and I am willing to confess this last week has been hard (I should feel grateful it is over).

I took Olivine to the aquarium (her request) and wandered behind her. She can sit in the penguin water cave for a long time. I tried hard to surrender my heavy heart and a list that God already knows. My prayer is “Lord of Have Mercy.”

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The world is full of hurting and pain that is sometimes difficult to hide from my children. I am once again learning lessons from them about how to not judge, but remain hopeful and faithful. They listened as I called 911 this morning in a calm manner to explain that a young man jumped into my car, sat in the passenger seat crying, as I buckled my children in for school. He was only wearing boxers and was yelling about his father. When his father showed up, he ran down the street, while his father explained he was on drugs. Thankfully my kids were more concerned for his safety than fearful of their own.DSC01560I have been able to hide the situation in my college class, as Joe and I discuss with hushed tones my student who spiraled out of control. This required police in my Tuesday class because the shootings on college campuses is fresh on everyone’s mind.

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Then there is the news from my mother that someone I have known my whole life is preparing to go to prison. My heart breaks because the world is dark and I am powerless against such violence, pain, and suffering. DSC01547It’s why I went to church yesterday morning and stood with arms open, waiting to receive any blessings God has to offer.DSC01554

Some mornings this momma wants to crawl back into bed, with sheets pulled over my head, and wish the evil away.

Charm Babies

These boys have yet to attend a game where their team looses. I keep joking about superstitions around sports. These ones could be the magic in the stadium.

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Last night they came home happy and exhausted. I hear it was an exciting victory.

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Thank you for the tickets Mimi.

Santa Ana

Olivine and I met my mom at a little spot called Crave (on 4th St. near Main) for a “girl’s only” breakfast. We each ordered frittatas and could have shared they were so big and delicious.DSC01490Afterwards we wandered around.DSC01497It’s close to a place I used to hang out in high school – Koo’s Cafe, and today it felt like an unexplored gem in Orange County.
DSC01496We wandered in alleys and
DSC01494 learned about their bike huts.DSC01502Olivine loved all the windows full of quinceanera dresses.DSC01493 She definitely squeezed in some serious Grammy time.DSC01510

When she found a fake bouquet of flowers I insisted she pose with this mural.
DSC01507So many skeletons on the wallsDSC01509just in time for Halloween and Day of the Dead.

DSC01505The hand painted signs are a fascination now, thanks to Joe. It’s the size and letters that make me smile.
DSC01504I was disappointed we didn’t have the whole day to explore this neighborhood. This made me want to see some other parts of Southern California I don’t know.

First Year

God has given me a ton of grace and compassion for my husband. Mixed in with a bit of awe and wonder, which I also need. His eyes light up as he talks about his classroom. Like any first year teacher, he is working his butt off. He puts in time before school, time after school, time on the weekend, and he still feels like he isn’t getting enough done. So I stand  with my hands in pockets (literally and figuratively) trying hard not to jump in, solve and strategize because I too have been in his shoes. Instead I try my hardest, and am asking God everyday for greater gifts when it comes to patience, love, kindness…all those wonderful attributes in the bible that are so hard to manifest when actually put to the test. DSC01485

Joe has a ton of these picture cards used for communication. He laminates them and then adds velcro or puts them on a ring. This helps students point and learn to be specific about what they need or want. These are from the computer.

But I will say when the word is unique enough to the child or not clear in the picture card, you better believe he whips up his own. Hand drawn and labeled with more accuracy for the child. And that is one more way my heart swells. Not just for Joe, but for God. I get to see all these gifts and talents He placed in Joe, bubble out in mysterious and beautiful ways.

P. S. I met with a previous professor this week- Dr. Xu at CSULB. I love her. She told me that Joe and I need to write a book. He laughs it off. But I am really going back to pick her brain some more. Why not?

Volunteering

Since having left the elementary classroom I found I do love teaching, especially writing (the reading is what I still do at the college level). It worked out perfect that Paul’s second grade teacher needed parents to help in the classroom, when I learned he teaches using writer’s workshop, I quickly signed up. The schedule started last week, every Wednesday of the school year I am welcome in the room.

Oh it feels like coming home. It is almost the same feeling I get when I drive into the fog and see SF for the first time in months. Nothing compares.

He has a weekly quote that the students discuss and analyze. Powerful. Inspiring.

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He is British born so this is his class motto:
UnknownAt back to school night he explained how it works well for parents and students. The first part is the relax, don’t stress part of growing. The “have a  go” is the putting in effort and trying your best. I love it!

Expect more photos as the year progresses. I love being back in the classroom. Just for teaching, not conferences, paperwork, grading, just good old fashioned teaching.