Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 Xmas break memories

Salt dough from Liz. Fran wanted to make ornaments and I wasn't really up to it so I told her she could do it. So she did everthing- rolled out the dough, pressed the designs with Adam and Natalie, turned on the oven, baked them. Tomorrow is painting. I love her independence in the kitchen.

Going to hear Dad's Portuguese band play in Chino. Worrying about all the cops and the helicopter flood-light that kept circling the venue. We rushed inside!

The kids riding down the stairs on the boogie board and slamming into the bean bags before they hit the wall.

Hearing the kids go crazy laughing at Home Alone and Home Alone 2.

Going to Alta Loma to see all of the amazing Christmas Lights on Thoroughbred. Buying the kids churros. Having Warehouse Pizza afterward.

Getting our Christmas tree. Jason puts the tree in the stand, I put the lights on, the kids did ALL the rest. I love just sitting and watching them enjoy!

Big dance parties here in the living room. Adam dances kind of chaotic and suddenly stops and looks over his shoulder with a Zoolander look. Where did he get THAT from?

Adam declaring that his favorite present was the toaster oven Grandma got him. He didn't like that our other toaster didn't count down and "ding" when it was done, so he requested a new toaster for xmas. He got one. He's very happy he can make proper toast again.

Adam then declared he knows what he wants for xmas next year. "What Grandpa has. One of those massager things." He's talking about the Shiatsu mechanical neck massager pillow I got for Dad. I guess he likes practical gifts. He's sort of an old soul.

Natalie and Adam spent many mornings this break huddled on Adam's bed watching either Frozen or LEGO movie together on the little DVD player.

Frannie got oodles of compliments on her hair. It's so looooong!

I decided we hadn't done anything "field-trippy" for this vacation so we went to the Griffith Observatory and Planetarium show in Los Angeles. Then we stopped by Uncle Don's and Aunt Lisa's house for a quick visit. Total trip time = 5 hours. Why does LA traffic have to ruin everything? (Overall it was fun though.)

The kids very favorite Christmas craft was making gingerbread houses. Well really it's just graham cracker houses, but we used the Halloween candy stash and they did a great job decorating!

For New Year's Eve we went to the Ortega's party. Fran got to play with her best friend A. I got to talk to one of my best friend's L!

Yesterday the kids got to visit with Grandma Remy and Auntie Rosie. I stayed home and did Frequent Buyer Cards. Jason also took the kids to Kohl's so they could get whatever they wanted with their gift cards. Adam got a pocketwatch. Natalie got a pony shirt and sparkly palm tree charm necklace, and Fran got colorful leggings and a very big blingy necklace and earrings that look like something a 55 year old woman would wear.

We're almost at Epiphany. Our Nativity is still out. Many other decorations are still out (although the tree is down). This has been a beautiful Christmas season this year. I feel how precious this time is with the kids at such a fun group of ages. The Christmas season fills me up and energizes for the new year. I feel both happy and sad. This is a time of year (after Christmas) when the school year really picks up and I notice a big change in the kids. It's like they really grow up and by February I have different kids than I did in September. In my heart I hug my precious children as they are right now, little Fran, Adam and Natalie, and make space for the big growing I can see they're about to do before my eyes.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Sweet Spot

I know I don't blog much and I hate that. I keep telling myself "you need to write this dowwwwn! These are your memories!" but I zone out on the computer and never come here and post anything. My kids' childhoods are so important to me and there is so much stuff I know I'm going to forget because I never took the time to write it down. I reeeally hope to change that though. I know it isn't New Years Resolution time but really if I could do one thing better it would be to start documenting my family again.

Ok so real quick I have to get some things down.

I have heard that this season of life that I'm in right now is called The Sweet Spot and I COULDN'T AGREE MORE! Wow. I know people have said the words "it gets easier" but I really had no idea the LEVEL of easier we were talking about when that third kid (little Natalie) skipped off to school. Whoa.

This is some good stuff right here. No joke about it. I am loving this season of life so much. I love our walks to school in the morning and afternoon. I am doing so much better at getting them to school on time holy moly. No absences or tardies believe it or not. This is like a miracle of improvement for me. I'm teaching Zumba now 4 days a week so I'm getting mandatory exercise and it feels fantastic. I love having this creative dance outlet! So fun for me. I'm doing a lot of Frequent Buyer Cards for Canidae. Still teaching Bradley on Sundays. Still volunteering in Natalie's classroom. So I have enough "outside" diversions to keep me busy along with all the house stuff. But somehow I am feeling that elusive thing called Balance that many people speak of. I feel it. I don't feel overwhelmed. I have enough down time. Enough time to do the household stuff. Enough time to be with the kids. I'm making some money. This stay at home mom life is a Good Life. And I love it. So YAY thank you Jason for your awesomeness at providing. And hopefully he feels like he has Balance too since he never has to worry for one second about the kids or household. I actually don't know if he feels what I feel. Somehow I think he feels more pressure than I do, but I also think overall he's pretty satisfied with things.

The kids are doing so great it's just the best. Fran is amazing and responsible. This girl wakes up before 6 am and makes all of the school lunches. She just does. I have never once told her or asked her to do this. She just gets up, and starts in with putting together ham sandwiches etc etc... She even puts the ice pack in the lunch bags like I do so that the sandwiches don't get gross during the day. This girl is like a Little Mommy. I really have no idea where this comes from but she's just an on point kind of kid. I love this super responsible quality about her because it's like some sort of gift that she has.

Adam is also very responsible and excellent in school. He's super good. He just does what he's supposed to do even though he sometimes says he wishes he could be a lazy guy. He definitely loves playing on the computer. He's thinking he wants to play tennis again too. Adam has a way of asking me really hard questions that I can't answer. "Mom where does Helium come from?" "Are people made from stardust?" Anyways, he's playing soccer and they haven't had a great season but he never complains about his team losing all the time. He just goes with the flow of things. He and Natalie play play play play constantly. They are serious buddies and are always playing laughing every single day.

Natalie loves school and is constantly singing all of the songs she hears everyday. The Vowel Bat song, the colors songs (y-e-l-l-o-w spells yellow)  the school song and on and on. She's reading really well too and overall just having a really good year so far. She's awesome at soccer and it's super fun to watch her play. She's really fast and just knows what to do. Fran is playing soccer too and loves being the goalie. I am refereeing and I sort of like it, sort of don't but overall it's ok.

So yes this has been an excellent couple of months. Definitely a Sweet Spot.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Big Bear Lake

Fran, Adam and Nat at Big Bear Los Serranos campsite
We went camping at Big Bear Lake for the first time. It was wonderful! This is our first camping trip outside of Carpinteria. My motivation for choosing Big Bear is because I'm a little worried about the Fukushima nuclear spill and don't really want the kids swimming in the ocean. Perhaps I'm being paranoid, but at any rate, the paranoia led to us finding another great campsite!

Los Serranos was fantastic because the sites are quite large so you have plenty of space to stretch out and play without feeling like the other campers are within earshot.

Always playing together. Picture taken by Fran.
The weather was gorgeous and it is so weird once you gain altitude on the drive because all of a sudden everything is CLEAR. The sky is a super blue and the trees a crisp green that we aren't used to seeing. On the descent back home, we saw the bowl of smog that we're used to existing in and it's pretty gross.

On Saturday it was cool and rained and it was wonderful!! It was the best thing ever to just hang out under the easy-up canopy and read while the rain fell. It was like being under a big umbrella. Just being comfortable in the cool air, on a nice lounge chair, hearing and smelling the rain, and reading... that was my favorite part of the vacation. I also enjoyed playing many games of Yahtzee with Fran. She beat me almost every time! She rolls Yahtzees so easily!
Huddling under the canopy when it first started to rain.
Reading reading reading.

Jason took the kids on bike riding "adventures" to the lake and on different paths. I didn't have my bike, so I didn't get to go, but I didn't mind at all because it just gave me more time to relax and read. The kids loved their adventures! Fran was like me in that she spent most of her vacation also lounging and reading Harry Potter.
On a bike riding adventure with Daddy
Clear BLUE sky!
On Sunday, we drove into town and looked in just about every single shop. Everyone got a little treat. Jason and Dad kept daydreaming about cabins they could buy.
Adam with his "treat" a helicopter.
Dad walking with Natalie and Archie in the village.
Dad made amazing dinners this time. Spaghetti with garlic bread on day 1, then bbq chicken sandwiches on day two. Soooo yummy. Archie is always a bit of a pain to Dad on these trips. but I really like having Archie around!
Dinner prep
Marshmallows in the dinner?

Jason does a great job with the bbq
Dad and Archie

So here's to yet another great camping trip full of relaxation and snacks and naps and exploration.
On the car ride home before motion sickness set in for Fran.,..

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Right now

Right now...
It's a Tuesday morning and the kids have been dropped off at school. Natalie is watching the Wiggles. She hasn't watched the Wiggles in a long time but lately she's been having bad dreams and she said "I miss my Wiggle dreams." So I suggested she watch some Wiggles so she can put good dreams in her head.

Natalie definitely watches a lot more tv than I ever let Fran and Adam watch!
In terms of milestones...Natalie is learning to read!

Right now...
Adam looks like a hockey player. He tripped and face-planted last week and scuffed up his nose. He has a few thick scabs on his face from it. Then yesterday night his front tooth fell out while he was sleeping! So he looks like a cartoonish hockey player with scabs on his face and teeth missing. And yesterday on the way to school he fell and scraped his knee pretty bad. So he's kind of a mess. But a healthy boy mess! Missing teeth and scabs from playing outside are good things for an almost 7-year old.

Right now...
Francesca is growing in responsibility. She is the one who helped Adam when he fell on the way to school. When they got to school she took him to the bathroom and cleaned his cuts thoroughly. They were both very calm about it. She said Adam didn't even cry. I'm really proud of them that they know how to handle stuff without freaking out. I'm glad Fran knows what to do.

Right now...
I'm grateful for being a stay at home mom. I was able to make the kids pancakes for breakfast (at Natalie's request.) As I was making pancakes I was grateful to not be rushing around trying to get myself ready for work, but I could instead just chill and make breakfast in my sweatpants. It's a good life!

I'm becoming the Queen of Part Time Jobs. I still have the Bradley class going, and I'm also teaching Zumba at the church and at an elementary school, and I'm doing data entry at home for Canidae.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Francesca's tall friends

I asked Frannie how come all of her friends are so much taller than she is. (I'm not kidding they're all like a foot taller.) And she said, "I've tried to make friends with girls my size but it just doesn't work out for some reason. I just get along with tall girls."

I thought that was cute.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Right Now

Right now Natalie is asking me to blow up a balloon for her babies. Her babies are of course all of her stuffed animal babies that she carts everywhere and puts in surprising places. Right now the babies are in a circle in the front yard. Natalie is wearing her tiny striped shorts. She wears tiny shorts so often I've told her her Indian name should be Little Shorts. Right now her hair is in loose pig tails. She's woken from a long nap after her first soccer game.

Right now Adam is playing handball against the side of the house with our neighbor (also named Adam). They've been laughing and playing this game for at least an hour. I'm glad Adam has a friend in the neighborhood now. This is only the 2nd time this boy has come over to play. My Adam is barefoot and his feet will be extremely dirty from the muddy grass when he comes in.

Right now Frannie is eating crockpot broccoli beef with rice for dinner. She's sitting right next to me. Her hair is in braids of course. She just got home from working on a school project with a girl in her class. They're acting out a Choctaw legend.

Right now Jason and I are watching Extreme Cheapskates on Netflix and drinking coffee and having our favorite snack of graham crackers with peanut butter and chocolate chips. I am wearing Jason's grey sweatshirt. I've come to enjoy stealing most of his sweatshirts and sometimes even his workout pants. This is the benefit of having a husband who only weighs 15lbs more than I do!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

National Anthem of Andorra, Italy, and Algeria

My mom bought the kids this Intelliglobe thing, and one of the features is a pamphlet full of all the national flags. When you touch one of the flags with this special computerized pen, it plays the national anthem from that country.

Well the kids have discovered this feature and Natalie plays the Andorra anthem all day long. She loves this song so much she says she wants to play a "horn sang" (horn thing aka trumpet) so she can play it. I didn't even know where in the world Andorra was. I always feel so ignorant when it comes to geography. It reminds me of school how everyone knows who the popular kids are, but the popular kids have no idea who the less popular kids are. That is how it is living in the United States. We only really know about ourselves even though the whole rest of the world knows about us.

Anyways, Andorra is a little country that is right between Spain and France!! Who knew!? I thought it might be one of those tiny islands that's a dot in the middle of the ocean. Nope. It's right there in Europe. And I thought I knew about European countries at least. I guess not.

So while Natalie loves Andorra, Adam loves Italy (every time it stops he sticks his butt out and pretends he's farting). I happen to like Algeria (some nice snare drums). Frannie hasn't picked a favorite.