Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Flash

What does one look for in a pet?  Companionship?  Unconditional love?  Security?  There’s lots of reasons why people enhance their lives with pets. 

If your pet moonlights as a super hero, well, that’s even better.  Agent P

Not only is this a storyline in the popular cartoon Phineas and Ferb, but I have a super hero pet sitting on my kitchen counter. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s

Flash The Fish!

Flash is staying with us for a few days.  He’s a blue beta fish who likes to be talked to when he’s lonely.  “Flash I love you but we only have 14 hours to save the Earth!” 

Don’t let his cheerful fins fool you.  He also puffs up in a very macho masculine sort of way when we show him the beta fish picture on his food container.  I have to say I feel safer already just knowing he’s swimming on my kitchen counter. 

I just hope Flash doesn’t go insane.  My family had a beta fish when I was a kid.  His name was Jack.  My brother was so mad that my sister got to name that fish!  Jack was crazy.  He bit a huge chunk out of his own tail.  I’m not kidding.  Then one day he had had it with life.  I guess he couldn’t figure out how the secret trap door worked under the plant in the middle of the bowl.  Or maybe he could but he was done with Major Monogram’s nerdy intern, Carl.  Either way, Jack dove down deep into the marbles slicing himself up into sushi on the mirror discs.  Pieces floated to the top of the bowl and that was the end of Jack. 

Flash seems a little more on top of things than Jack.  Flash definitely seems more super hero like. 

“What do you mean Flash The Fish approaching?” 

Flash!  AAAaaaaahhhhhhhh!  Savior of the Universe! 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to go from an ad icon to a popular toy in one step

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Although this is the popular form of this quotation, a more correct translation from the original Chinese would be "The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's feet." Rather than emphasizing the first step, Lau Tzu regarded action as something that arises naturally from stillness. Another potential phrasing would be "Even the longest journey must begin where you stand." [note by Michael Moncur, September 01, 2004] (that whole paragraph found here.)

My thousand mile journey literally has begun with a single step. Good thoughts are a great beginning but not super effective. Action is required.

Over the last 10 years I have tried different exercise programs. I guess the reason why I can’t shut up about the Wii’s EA Active program is because it is the only thing I have ever done that yielded noticeable results so quickly.

While my weight is holding steady at 20 lbs overweight, I feel like I look good. My arms and legs are getting definition I have never seen before in my life! Not even when I took weight training and step aerobics on alternating days in high school. I no longer resemble the Pillsbury Dough Boy. 20060702doughboy You know, round and fluffy all over. Not to mention the pasty white skin color from a severe lack of exposure to sunlight. I think I look more like Mr. Potato Head. mr_potato_head More tan with thin limbs and a heavy, round middle. I take what I can get and I consider that success! It’s a glass is half full approach to literally looking like I’m halfway to my goal.

I am halfway done with the 30 Day Challenge. So far I have done well over 25 laps around the track. That’s over 5 miles of running in place without ever leaving the privacy of my own bedroom! Sign me up for the next running in place marathon. I would kick some serious butt! I have burned over 1000 calories. Today I was told I have done 100 squats while I was in the beginning of a set of squats. My butt looks fantastic from all the squats.

Diabetes has tried to get in the way of this 30 Day Challenge. I don’t like having to play blood sugar roulette especially when I lose. So far today has been a good blood sugar day other than this morning I didn’t get to start my workout until 8:30. Low blood sugar made me wait until it came up and by then all the kids were climbing the walls so I had to feed them and enlist my favorite babysitter – TV. I was not going to let anything get in my way. I am finishing this challenge if for no reason other than to say I completed it in 30 days.

My arms and legs keep me going. The squishy middle is frustrating but I just tell myself that one day my mom can get me an employee discount for a tummy tuck. She’s a nurse at a surgical center. As far as I know there is no discount. Too bad. Maybe I’ll rob a bank or my blog will start making me money! Ha ha I crack myself up.

The point is I have a dream. Some people get up in the morning by promising themselves they will take a nap later even though they never do. I used to be one of those people. Now I tell myself my fat rolls will one day be a dim memory. It’s a first step in this journey of a thousand miles. Even if it never comes true, it at least got me to move my feet.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Two stories based more on truth than I care to admit

Two stories.  One is an inspirational warm and fuzzy sort of coming of age story.  The other is a brutally accidental murder.  Both are about plants.  Enjoy.

This is the story of the little plant that could. 

Once upon a time a tomato seed was planted in a small plastic pot.  The seed grew in the pot.  Not a lot but enough that there were tender green leaves above the dirt.  The beginnings of a tiny tomato plant. 

A classroom of first graders went on a field trip to a local farm.  Each student was able to take a potted plant home.  One student chose the tiny tomato plant.  He took it home with dreams of planting it in his family’s garden. 

The plant was put on the counter by the window.  The window never got a lot of direct sunlight.  Mom slacked a lot when it came to remembering to water the little tomato plant.  By the time Mom and Dad were ready to move the plant outside it was a wonder the thing was still alive. 

garden-and-G-tools-004

Dad transferred the tiny plant from the flower pot into the freshly turned soil of the garden.  Dad noticed that the plant seemed sad.  He knew Mom felt bad for not caring for its needs better but that wasn’t the problem.  The plant barely had any roots.  The soil from the pot crumbled easily.  Dad did not have high hopes for the tomato plant.  He planted it anyway to keep his son happy.  Secretly Dad planned on getting a new tomato plant the next weekend.  He was confident the little plant had too traumatic a childhood to survive the week. 

The tomato plant was sad.  It’s childhood had been rough and full of neglect.  The transfer to a new home nearly killed it.  The overwhelming loneliness in the new home caused the little plant to droop until it was lying down.  For a couple days the plant was addicted to sadness while it was prostrate on the dirt. 

Then something changed.  Maybe it was the family’s gentle encouragement, “Come on little plant!  You can do it!”  At any rate, the little plant realized he was in charge of his own destiny.  He didn’t want to die.  He wanted to live.  Not only live but live well.  The little plant was full of new hope. 

Slowly he stood up.  That very act filled him with unshakable confidence.  Little by little the plant grew taller and wider.  His strength was unquestionable.  The cage that seemed so large and inappropriate for such a sad little tomato plant

baby-it's-hot-outside-034

now is a perfect fit.  The little plant that could sure did.  The family cannot wait for the robust tomatoes the plant will surely produce.  His motto is and always will be:  Never give up.  Never surrender.  The end.

 

This is a story of an unfortunate grizzly murder.

Once upon a time a family planted a garden.  Over time weeds invited themselves to the utopian party.  Mom kept telling Dad that she wanted to weed but wanted him to point out what was a plant and what was a weed first.  They were busy and never remembered to look together. 

One day Mom wanted to let off steam.  She decided to weed the garden.  She had a decent idea of what was a plant and what was either a weed or more plant growing where it shouldn’t be.

baby-it's-hot-outside-035

The chives had gone to flower a couple years ago.  Now little chive plants are sprouting up everywhere.  Mom knew that.  She pulled a few but concentrated more on weeds. 

Mom and Dad weren’t sure they would get any onions this year.  Dad had created a couple of rows for onions and something else.  Mom was in charge of onions.  She dropped the seeds as instructed but got sidetracked by kids and didn’t realize she was supposed to cover the seeds with loose dirt afterwards.  Dad laughed good naturedly and said better luck next year.  Mom felt bad anyway.  

baby-it's-hot-outside-036

Imagine their surprise and joy when they saw onions coming up.  Imagine Mom’s confusion the day she took on a weeding project when she saw onions in a row as well as scattered randomly nearby.  She knew she didn’t plant many onion seeds and they should have been in a row.  But there were little onion blades shooting up underneath the spinach leaves a couple feet away.  Hmm.

What really got her was the strange leaves next to the onions.  They didn’t look like any weed Mom had ever seen before yet they didn’t look like any plant she knew of either.  Mom’s thumb is the opposite of green so it’s not really saying much! 

This strange “plant” was growing in a line in fairly consistent intervals.  She also saw it other places throughout the garden but it seemed concentrated by the onions and the spinach.  What was it? 

As Mom pulled other weeds she pulled up one of these unidentified “plants.”  Immediately the air was filled with the aroma of mint.  Mom’s heart stopped momentarily as she thought maybe she pulled up something that wasn’t a weed.  As she worked her way through the garden she kept seeing this “plant” right next to other plants or simply out in the open.  Sometimes it seemed so weedlike but every time she pulled one and smelled that mysterious minty smell, she felt bad.  She ended up leaving a lot of it in the ground as a result. 

Mom moved her weeding over by the zucchini.  Lunchtime was quickly approaching and Mom wanted to just finish for the day.  It wasn’t a thorough job but the garden looked better. 

The next day Dad had gone out to check on the garden while he was barbecuing something for dinner.  He came back in laughing.  He started out by saying, “Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this but . . .”  Then he told Mom that he knew she didn’t mean to but she had actually pulled up the watermelon plant thinking it was a weed. 

Remorse was immediate.  She told him about the strange plant she couldn’t decide whether it was a weed or not.  He insisted it was a weed.  But she could not get over the death of the watermelon.

The watermelon had been planted too deep one year to yield any results.  This year there was only one little watermelon plant bravely surviving until that fateful day when *snap* it was prematurely picked and casually discarded with weeds.

Mom and Dad’s oldest child loves watermelon.  He was looking forward to homegrown watermelon.  He happened to be in the room when Dad told Mom the information they all could have lived the rest of their lives never knowing. 

Regret.  Remorse.  And a  few giggles because it is funny after all. 

The moral of the story is:  Amateurs should not garden. 
The end.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A crazy hodgepodge post of my opinions

After Heath came home on Friday we went to see Toy Story 3.  The kids had been looking forward to it all week.  I wasn’t sure.  Toy Story was amazing.  I could smell the plastic just watching the movie, the animation was so good.  Toy Story 2 was fine.  The story is a little intense for me.  Ha ha!  I can’t handle a children’s story!  As a rule though, I don’t like sequels.  Toy Story 2 was a good sequel but Toy Story 3?  Come on.  Let the story end already.  A good storyteller knows when to end it. 

It was actually a good movie.  I liked it and can support us buying it when it comes out.  I was thrilled to be able to watch a movie in the theater without ever having to open my bag of tricks to distract kids.  Gwen was fixated by the toys she has grown to love.  Jessie of course is her favorite.  The boys sat with eyes and mouths wide open the entire time.  Gwen got bored for a little bit and was playing with her seat but she wasn’t bugging anyone.  Then she got back into it.  Yay.  We made it!  Our kids are finally becoming more of a joy to take into public than a chore. 

I wonder if this is it for Toy Story.  Honestly, I hope so.  Realistically, they left it open.  The story could continue.  In which case I’m going to have to be very annoyed.  I saw Toy Story on a date for heaven’s sake!  The story has been going long enough.  Andy’s grown up.  Let’s move on.  That’s my two cents.  I’m such a kill joy. 

Yesterday we went to the Chabot Space and Science Center again.  Man, I love that place.  We have officially gotten our money’s worth and then some for the year’s passes we bought.  Every time we drive there I think of the zoo.  The Oakland Zoo is on the way for one thing.  But I think of all the people I know who have family passes to the zoo.  Good for them but I just have to ask, how many times can one go to the zoo in a year?  I mean, is it really a different experience every time?  How often can kids look at the same animals doing the same thing during one year?  Once every few years works for me. 

But the Space and Science Center . . . yeah, that’s fun.  Even though we see the same exhibits every time we learn something new.  Yesterday, the kids were waiting for their turn to sit in this space capsule.

dancing-and-Science-Center-014

A volunteer came over and started talking about the space capsule.  First of all, I didn’t know that’s what it was called!  But he was saying that this was the beginning of space travel.  The kids were sitting in a Gemini space capsule.  The next generation of space craft was the Apollo.  And that’s what took Neal Armstrong to the moon. 

In the 60’s we learned how to go to space, what to expect, how to keep someone alive, etc, by putting astronauts in these space capsules.  They were sent up with rocket power.  He explained this process by saying that the rocket was like throwing a rock into the air.  In the beginning your hand is pushing on the rock but as soon as you let go of the rock, it is soaring on its own power.  Gravity takes over and it eventually falls down.  Well, the space capsules were the same.  The flame pushes it up for the first few minutes then it operates on its own power eventually falling into the ocean. 

Eight years later man landed on the moon.  How incredible is that?  I was fascinated.  A dog was the first live thing sent into space.  Then a monkey.  Then man.  Then man landed on the moon.  So amazing. 

We watched a star show which was really cool.  Parker was expecting a movie so he was unimpressed with the show.  A man talked us through the experience as if we were really in space.  The theaters there are all dome theaters.  The entire dome was covered in projected stars and skyline. 

At one point we watched ourselves go up into space while Earth got smaller and smaller.  That was interesting.  I have a gift where I can watch something and separate myself from reality enough to feel like what I’m watching is real. 

For a brief moment I forgot about the fact that I was sitting in a theater seat in Oakland, CA.  It truly felt like we shot up and away from Earth.  My heart felt strange.  I felt a fear of heights, I felt like we were suddenly suspended in the middle of nowhere.  My fear of wide open spaces took over as I felt so alone.  I wasn’t necessarily homesick but it was definitely a strange moment watching Earth quickly get smaller and smaller. 

It reminded me of Gattaca.  At the end he is finally going up to space.  He says something along the lines of not ever belonging in the world because he wasn’t genetically engineered but for all that he was having a hard time leaving Earth.  He said that every atom of our beings was once part of a star so maybe he wasn’t leaving.  Maybe he was just going home. 

I love that movie.  It is so thought provoking.  It raises some very interesting questions.  Genetic engineering could be a moral dilemma society can face in the near future.  I watched all the bonus material before I started the movie the other day.  The bonus material was fascinating. 

They talked about how we learned about DNA and what we now know about it.  The things we are doing with our knowledge.  The controversy of the next step.  As a diabetic I want to support stem cell research.  The idea that stem cells can cure my incompetent pancreas is beyond my wildest dreams.  What I don’t like about stem cell research is they seem to want to use embryos.  I have heard that stem cells can be found in other ways though.  I am waiting for the day when I can have a hole cut out of my arm skin and have my own cells cure me.  Wild.  It can happen.  Soon.  The time frame that things have already been happening with genetic research is mind boggling. 

I loved how they called that segment of the bonus material DNA for “Do Not Alter?”  How far are we supposed to go with medicine?  There is a quote in the opening credits of Gattaca that says something like “Man will not only tamper with Mother Nature, I think Mother Nature wants us to.” 

There has been a lot of anger in the diabetic community in the last couple of weeks.  Apparently some man wrote a book peddling the idea that God can cure diabetics.  Well, yes, technically He can.  But I don’t think He ever will.  Not because we are not faithful enough but because there are lessons to learn by waiting for a cure and figuring it out on our own.  I am grateful for all the medical advances we already have.  My life is so blessed because of pump therapy and test strips.  Things that have not always been available to diabetics. 

I remember a day in my English class in junior high.  The teacher had everyone raise their hands.  Then she started eliminating hands by naming illnesses.  She never said diabetes.  I was eliminated earlier with some other condition that I don’t remember.  But I do remember how grateful I felt that day for all I have.  I have always known how blessed I am to be a diabetic now.  The point of that lesson in English class was to show us how many people didn’t make it when things went wrong.  My two friends, a brother and sister, had to lower their hands because most twins didn’t survive the time period we were discussing.  It was eye opening to see how many of my classmates would not have made it without the benefits of modern medicine. 

At the end of the Do Not Alter? segment they showed famous historical figures and said what would have kept them from being born if we could genetically order our children.  I can’t help but think of how hard I was pushed to get an amniocentesis done when it was discovered that Gwen may have something genetically wrong with her.  My answer was a firm no.  I would never abort the baby regardless of ability or disability.  My only fear was she may have Trisomy 18 which would mean she would not live past her first year.  Imagine our relief when she was born healthy and completely normal despite the abnormal umbilical cord and other red flags.  We were told there was a chance nothing was wrong with her and I went with that rather than risk miscarriage by doing an amniocentesis so early in pregnancy. 

The Gattaca movie makers wanted to put the imperfect historical figures at the end of the movie but felt they had already made their point.  It reminds me of all the amazing people in the world who have been adopted.  If their mothers had chosen to abort their unwanted babies we wouldn’t have had Lance Armstrong, Dave Thomas, Steve Jobs, and countless other people.  It really makes you stop and think.  God is in charge and He should be.  He is also giving us the opportunity to grow from our own adversity.  Make our own decisions and appreciate the consequences. 

I meant to do a whole post about Gattaca the day I watched it but I couldn’t get the words to come out right.  So now you get it at the end of a rambling post about some of the family fun we have had this weekend.  Lucky you. 

I love learning.  Don’t you? 

The other completely random thought I had on the way home from the Science Center was that I kind of wish I had allowed myself to be hypnotized when I had the chance.  Heath’s company had a Christmas party in 2006 at some ritzy Salt Lake City hotel with a hypnotist as entertainment.  Because of my vivid imagination I would be a great candidate for hypnosis but I was too self conscious to let go.  I had to pee like nobody’s business and didn’t want to find the bathroom alone.  I know.  I’m weird.  I hate public!  So I sat there with an uncomfortably full bladder not allowing myself to let go and be hypnotized.  The hypnotist never made the people do anything inappropriate or anything they would regret later.  It was in SLC.  The Mormon culture probably had a lot to do with the tame show.  I could have done it.  Oh well. 

I also thought that if I had a million dollars I would get a Psychology degree for the fun of it.  Psychology is interesting to me and always has been.  I secretly am afraid that people see right through me but reality is most people don’t know enough about Psychology to have me all figured out.  I think we worry that others are judging us for the things we judge in other people.  So we shouldn’t judge.  Just saying. 

Was that a random enough hodgepodge of an opinionated post for you? 

Digital Love Letters

Back in the day people sent letters.  They used a pen and paper to express their undying love for one another.  The messages were sent by boat, by horse, and later by mail.  Now we send messages via electronic mail, known as email. 

Email has been around since the 70’s if you can believe that one.  It’s true if you don’t believe me!  It gained popularity of epic proportions in the 90’s.  Now people don’t even have to have a computer or laptop to email.  People can use cell phones or other PDA’s.  Public displays of affection?  No, that’s not what it means! 

Last week Heath went on a business trip to Atlanta, Georgia to pitch an idea to a company.  He woke me up on Wednesday morning to kiss me goodbye.  I told him he had to.  Because of the timing of his flights along with the time zone difference, he kept me updated on his progress via his Blackberry.  He also called me when he could but the email part was something we had never done before. 

On the plane on time (Wednesday 6:46 am)
Love you.
Heath

On the ground (Wednesday 11:58 am)
Call you when I can.
Heath

IMG00074-20100624-2122.jpg (Thursday 6:23 pm)
IMG00074-20100624-2122-(2)
What a crazy dinner.  Wish you were here.
Love you.
Heath

The dinner was pretty spectacular.  He went out with his boss after the pitch was over.  They went to a Thai food restaurant that served enough food in one entre to feed an entire third world country!  And we wonder why America is fat. 

Heath ordered something that came in a full pineapple.  He said it was really good but that if I ever go and get the same thing I better order the mild and not the medium like he did.  He bit into a pepper that he swore was so hot it was blistering his tongue.  Or at least that’s what it felt like.  His boss kept telling him to eat the rice.  But the rice felt like sandpaper on his raw tongue.  Plus, it was also spicy.  She counted and Heath downed four glasses of water in a matter of seconds.  When the waiter came by to refill his Sprite he almost grabbed the pitcher and swigged it. 

Heath is not a spice pansy.  We love spicy food in our family.  I eat jalapeƱos with wild abandon.  Heath can take more heat than I can.  But this dinner did him in.  He had to get a picture of it because it was such an experience and it was such an interesting presentation.  His boss’s dinner was served in a watermelon half.  

Checking out (Friday 3:07 am)
I figured I would give you updates via email since you are hopefully still asleep.
Heath

Waiting for plane (Friday 4:34 am)
At the gate waiting.  Love you.

On the plane (5:02 am)
See you soon.  Love you.
Heath

Hello from the air (7:56 am)
I am using on board WiFi so I wanted to say hello, I love you and see you soon.
Heath

progress (9:04 am)
flying over Utah right now, it looks like I will be flying over Cedar City (the plane has a moving map of where we are at.)
Love you.
Heath

Descending into SF be on the ground in 30-40 minutes (9:59 am)
Heath

On ground (10:23 am)

Heath was bummed I didn’t email him back.  I didn’t have the computer on for most of the day on Wednesday and I was busy on Friday with friends over.  I didn’t know if I should email him back when he was using his work address with the on board WiFi.  I love these emails though.  I love the simplicity of the digital love letters.  I am a paranoid panicky mess, especially when Heath is out of town on business.  Phone calls and emails ease my mind.  Isn’t technology the best?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bug Cemetery

My backyard is a bug cemetery.  Like a secluded rural town, it is where the bugs go to die.  Eventually there will be buginars where the bugs can warn one another.  And little bug signs saying BEWARE! with a skull and cross bones. 

For centuries bugs have communicated primitively.  They probably always will.  Partly because it’s hard to warn others when you’re dead. 

mistakes03 (image courtesy of despair.com)

For now any bug found by little hands in the Westover backyard instantly becomes a pet and eventually dies out of self defense. 

Roly Poly potato bugs are put on the picnic table upside down, their little legs clawing at the air desperately trying to turn over.  His cousin is put in the back of a plastic dump truck and pushed around at heart stopping speeds.  When he reaches the grass he is urged to get out and have an adventure. 

Sidewalk cracks are their only chance of survival.  Even then fat child fingers dig at the crack. 

“Where are their ears?”  The deafening roar is millimeters from the roly poly’s body. 

I have witnessed the horror of too much childlike love for these poor creatures.  Gwen pushing a curled up ball of roly poly potato bug around and around and around.  The ball never opened.  Rigor mortis had set in. 

Parker was frustrated by a roly poly that kept crawling away from him.  Parker’s movements are difficult to describe.  I was left feeling sick to my stomach.  My impulsive lunging to save the crippled creature with one antenna could not be stopped. 

Parker was so nonchalant about it all too.  “He lost his arm.  It’s ok, he has another.” 

Stifled scream after stifled scream.  Gavin finally convinced one to climb onto his finger.  Then he lovingly tossed the roly poly into the pool because if it’s fun for a 6 year old boy, it must be fun for a poor defenseless bug.  The roly poly dropped like a rock with a sickening thud at the bottom. 

The look on Gavin’s face was priceless when I told him not to put the bugs in the pool.  He quickly scooped up his pet and laid him out on the sidewalk.  That may be the one Gwen was pushing around. 

As soon as one gives up the ghost to escape the torture, the kids are on their hands and knees searching for another victim.  Only there is nothing malicious in what they do.  They simply love too much.  Or squash life completely unaware that one heavy running footstep landed square on the roly poly brave enough to climb out of the crack. 

It was like watching a movie in slow motion.  I could see the foot hovering in mid air over the unsuspecting roly poly.  I could almost read the bug’s mind, “I think the dangerous fingers have stopped poking at me.  I’m hungry.  Maybe I can get out of the crack and . . .” SQUISH!

I try to distract my kids but then a ladybug lands on their arm and I pray for the ladybug’s soul as the kids race it to the garden.  Then a hummingbird satiates thirst and Parker stalks it like a hungry cat.  He moves slowly so he doesn’t scare it but his intentions are not to innocently look.  No, he wants the bird to land on his finger.  The bird high tails it out of there never to return that day.  

Sometimes I wonder why God put bugs on the earth.  And I wonder if we will be judged for all the bugs we intentionally and unintentionally kill.  Then my heart starts racing all over again.  Because my backyard is a bug cemetery.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Redeemed Crappy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day turned Crappy Father’s Day (literally) turned one of the best evenings we have spent together as a family . . . maybe ever.

The kids and I have started a new tradition for Father’s Day. We have started a scrapbook for Heath. I put together a scrapbook page with pictures of Heath and the kids. The kids drew pictures or wrote why they love their dad so much. Awww! So sweet.

The spotlight quickly moved from Heath to everyone else. Parker finally earned his last bead which meant he earned Buzz Lightyear as well as a ticket to Toy Story 3. The bead thing has been going on since February. The movie incentive was added last week. There were 60 beads in the jar and now they are finally all out. Buzz has been sitting in the top of my closet gathering dust. Today he took his boxed self to Parker’s bed during church to wait for Parker. Gavin discovered him after Parker walked right by Buzz several times. The joy on Parker’s face is priceless.

Parker-and-Buzz-001 Parker wanted to smile like Buzz! That kid is too funny.

More thunder stealing came at church. There’s some back story to this one worth telling.

Last week Heath and I were playing Skip-Bo after the kids were in bed. Heath was getting his butt kicked because I rock at Skip-Bo. Well, and I was having really good luck but it sounds better to say I am so good at the game. Anyway, the phone rang and my game rapidly fizzled out afterwards.

Bro. Williams, a member of our ward’s Bishopric, called. Heath answered because I just gave a talk not too long ago. We figured it was Heath’s turn. Interestingly weird fact about Heath and me, we fight over who answers a Bishopric phone call hoping to be asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting! I know, we’re strange that way.

Heath made some lame joke about me being married so technically I wasn’t available. Ha ha. But now I’m nervous right? I don’t want to give a prayer. What else could it be? Calling. It has to be a calling.

I answer the phone and he doesn’t say much. Just asked when he could meet with me for 10 minutes. (Yep. Calling.) We agree to the next night at 8:00 pm and he said he would come to my house.

Heath heard my half of the conversation and knew as well as I did what the meeting was about. So we start speculating. Someone had been released from a Sunday School position and wasn’t replaced. I was excited because I miss the youth and would love to teach Sunday School to the youth.

We try to go back to our game but my mind wasn’t in it. A couple turns into it Heath stops and reminds me that a couple was moving. She was a counselor in the Primary Presidency. I stared at my cards without seeing what was on them. I blindly got through each turn by discarding without playing any other cards. Heath kicked my butt so easily I don’t think he even enjoyed his victory.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we believe that we are called by Heavenly Father to serve in different positions. Those in authority will fast and pray about who should serve where. Friends don’t pick friends or pick the person who seems the most qualified for the position. Callings come from Divine inspiration. It is interesting to note that we have a lay ministry only. There is no paid clergy.

When Heath said counselor in the Primary Presidency I knew that moment that was my calling. The way I know I have been called of God is that I was not afraid to do it. A year ago, maybe even a few months ago I would not have wanted to do this calling. At all. But somehow I felt excited about serving in the Primary Presidency.

I was not surprised when Bro. Williams came the next evening and called me to be the second counselor in the Primary Presidency. He kept asking if I was ok with it. It’s a big responsibility to serve in a presidency and I feel like a grown up because I have never been in one as an adult! I assured him that I knew that was the calling he came about and I was ok with it. I was sustained and set apart today.

When we got to church we all slid into the pew in front of a family we usually sit in front of. Heidi is the Primary President. She immediately started rubbing my back as soon as I sat down. She said she was so excited for it to all be official. Minutes later I was sustained. Meaning the members of the ward congregation all agree to support me. After church I was set apart, which means I was given a special blessing to help me perform my duties as the second counselor.

I should be so scared but so far I’m not. I know most of the kids in Primary because when we first moved here I taught the 4 year olds going on 5 year olds. I have also substitute taught in a few different classes. One of my original students is turning 8 years old and has decided to be baptized with his older sister. My heart was bursting when I found that out today! He is such a sweet boy and I know this was a big decision for him and his sister.

Happy Father’s Day Heath, it’s not about you today! In fact, our ward decided not to do anything special for the men. I don’t get that. I don’t get it when wards decide to do something big for the women on Mother’s Day but hardly even acknowledge Father’s Day.

Heath spent most of church today dealing with Gwen. She started this whole constipation thing a few weeks before school let out. It has come and gone and come again. She was so uncomfortable she would shake and scream but refuse to poop. So when we got home from church we put her in a bath where the neighbors probably thought we were beating her she was screaming so loudly.

I got the boys some lunch and Heath and I ate candy bars. The candy bars were a Father’s Day gift from my mom. Sort of. I messed up the surprise by forgetting that my mom was sending me money to buy Heath a candy bar to go with the gift she got him. Heath laughed at me for forgetting and then told my mom about it today! Thanks Heath. Now I need to find something equally embarrassing about you to tell your mother.

The candy bars were quick and easy so we could concentrate on Gwen. It was like watching my 2 year old give birth. I was rubbing her back and hugging her and doing anything I could to soothe her. Meanwhile she was shaking and screaming the screams only heard of by women in labor. We wondered if we should take her to the doctor and if we could find one on a Sunday afternoon. We pleaded with her to just poop so we wouldn’t have to take her to the hospital. What else can you do?

Heath went to the pharmacy and talked to a pharmacist who gave him liquid laxative for kids. We dosed Gwen, got her out of the tub to clean the tub and run fresh water. She sat on her potty chair while I did all that and finally delivered an impressive poopy for a small girl. We all breathed a little easier after that.

We watched Toy Story 2 together, had Philly cheese steak sandwiches on homemade bread rolls. Again, Happy Father’s Day Heath. You get to do all the cooking. Put me in charge and I give you a Snickers candy bar! After dinner we played the funnest game of Hide and Seek I have ever played. I have never been that out of breath, laughing that hard all from a game of Hide and Seek. Our house still feels like a million degrees from all the running around.

It’s nice to know that for all the twists and turns of this day we were able to steer it all back to Heath in the end with some good old fashioned family fun. He even read the bedtime story with silly voices. The kids loved it. It’s a book called Have I Got a Book For You! by Melanie Watt. I’m so grateful he is the father of my children. They have no idea how blessed they are to have such a wonderful father. I hope they never have to know the other side of the father fence.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Little Miss

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Little Miss shoe thief.

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Little Miss Hollywood.

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Tell us about your faboo day.

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Little Miss Sunshine.

Little Miss Funny Pants:
Gwen pointing at my basket of feminine products: What that? Band-Aid?
Pretty perceptive if you ask me!

Little Miss Gwen. A shot of color in our lives. Heart warming hugs and kisses. Bouncy curls on a bouncy girl. Our own Little Miss.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The story behind this picture . . .

messy-bed

This is my messy bed.  There’s a reason why the robe I never wear is turned inside out on the corner of the bed.  There’s also a reason why all my Wii equipment is still out in all it’s dried saltiness.  Who am I kidding?  That stuff frequently is laid out to dry and is never put away!  Same for my pajamas.  Not that my pajamas are wet.  They just never got put away.  No time.  But the robe has a story.  Here’s a run down of everything that happened before 9:00 this morning. 

We all studied the insides of our eyeballs until noon. 

Oh wait.  That would be too easy.  And not really blog worthy. 

5:45 am I turned over and realized light had already entered my room.  That was the end of sleeping for me.  So I tested my blood sugar.  231.  Hmph.  On the bright side, this is the lowest reading I’ve had first thing in the morning all week!  I did a bolus correction. 

Half an hour later Heath finally woke up and got up for the day.  I changed into my smoking hot work out clothes and decided to take advantage of my early alertness and the fact that no kids wanted my attention yet. 

Huff puff huff puff.  Today was workout 4 of the 30 day challenge.  I have already done 25 laps around the track this week.  While I missed my calorie burn by 5 calories this morning I am at 98% of the calorie burning goal for the 30 day challenge so far.  Yay me!  I eased my sore, aching muscles to the kitchen and drank nearly 40 0z of water in one gulp.  I’m not kidding. 

The only sound in the house was my tired lungs breathing in and out.  I looked at Gwen’s closed door and debated over whether or not I should wake her up to capture her first pee of the day in the potty chair.  Nah!  I hopped in the shower instead, being careful not to slip and fall because hopping in the shower is a stupidly dangerous activity not conducive to general cleanliness.  I was digging my nice warm shower when suddenly . . .

beep beep beep beep

What the?  I immediately open the shower door.  Then shut it again and turned off the water.  I step out and have a towel wrapped around me in milliseconds.  Realizing a towel, that for some reason shrunk in the washer, a lot, will not be enough naked protection, I wrapped my robe around me. 

Meanwhile the beeping won’t stop.  The boys are standing in the hall with scared looks on their faces ready to dart outside to our special meeting spot in front of the mailboxes.  They know what the beeping is.  The smoke alarms.  Only there’s no smoke.  No fire.  Nothing but a smoke alarm going crazy and waking up my peacefully sleeping children, who were threatened within an inch of their lives last night that they were NOT to be seen or heard before 7:00 am.  It was 7:40.  They were safe from the letter of the law, if not the spirit. 

I turned off the fan that was still oscillating in front of the open windows.  Then I dripped over to the gate and stared at the smoke alarm in the hallway ceiling.  The beeping suddenly stopped.  But we didn’t stop holding our breath.  This has happened before.  It tends to happen in the summer.  Don’t ask why.  It’s like the smoke alarms get bored and want to see what would happen if they go into emergency beeping mode, only to stop and resume beeping again at random intervals.  Fun game right?

I told the boys I was getting back in the shower to finish washing my hair.  I thought we all understood there was no fire.  We did have a short conversation regarding that.  I got out of the shower a minute later and could hear them calling my name,

G:  Mama!  We can’t even go out the front door!
M:  Why do you need to go out the front door?  You don’t need to go out any door.  Is there a fire?
G &P:  Noooooo . . .

I towel off and put my morning clothes on.  (The crumpled pajamas in the picture)

P:  Can Gwen get out of her room?  She’s awake. 
M:  Yes. 

That sinking feeling I’ve had every morning this week returned.  Ready or not, the day has begun! 

I debate over what to put Gwen in, pull up, panties, or let her stay in her diaper since she hadn’t peed that much yet.  Am I ready for another day of potty training?  I’m kind of past the point of no return.  She knows what she’s doing now.  It’s just a matter of timing.  I decide on a pull up telling myself not to react in my mind when she inevitably has an accident.  I just wanted to get the kids fed.  Her potty sitting sentence could wait. 

My meter smiled up at me from the counter daring me to test my blood sugar again.  I took my chances and tested as I heard the drumming of feet on the stairs.  The number came up and I blinked, 58?  Maybe my Jell-O legs weren’t just from the workout! 

Disoriented, tired, and low I watched the world in an out of body experience sort of way.    Do I put Gwen on the potty while I get cereal ready?  Do I grab something for myself?  What do I grab?  Oh yeah, we still have weight loss shakes!  I haven’t had breakfast all week, I forgot! 

Kssssshhhhhhhh!  I cracked that bad boy open and chugged it all before the kids rounded the corner begging for food.  I am super mom! 

The kids were eating so I went outside to bail water out of the pool.  Heath siphons it out with the hose but he only did most of one side.  So I got myself a big Tupperware bucket.  Well, it only holds 14 cups at a time.  And I bailed water for the next half hour or so.  Gallon after gallon of murky, bug cemetery, sunscreen swirled little boy pool water.  Yummy.  My second workout of the day nearly killed my back and hamstrings. 

The kids watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs for the third time in a few days so I could finish primping.  Gwen sat on her potty the whole time since she had not yet peed in her pull up or otherwise. 

Ah . . . 9:00 am.  Oh but it doesn’t stop there.  We went to the playground at 10:00 hoping to see our Park Day friends.  No such luck.  Just a large community mom group along with what looked like day care people.  At first I guessed annoyed grandma but her ill fitting masculine t-shirt over the top of a long sleeved t-shirt screamed day care to me.  Especially when the lady yelled at and shook a one year old baby for walking by the swings.   She didn’t shake the girl hard but enough that I saw and wondered what happens behind closed doors.  I should have reported it but I didn’t. 

She had no patience for that little girl.  “Name!  You can’t have food over there!  Come sit down!”  Repeat three times.  How about:  “Name.  No no.  Come here.” instead of all that blabbedy blab?  Then she said, “Name!  Do you want a time out?”  The girl nodded yes.  “Come here!”  Then the woman turned to the other adults around her and said, “Every time I ask her if she wants a time out she nods her head.”  It wasn’t an exasperated relative comment.  More like a very disgruntled, impatient day care worker comment. 

Things have finally settled down a little around here.  We’ve had lunch and many potty successes with one rather large puddly accident.  Heath will come home soon because his office is moving to another building today.  One that will make his commute longer and more annoying.  Awesome.  But Gavin is calling my name.  Hold on. 

G:  “BLOOD!”

Gotta go!  There’s always something going on around here. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Say What

Gwen:  Hey boys!  Be quiet!

Gavin:  Mom, will baby carrots grow to be grown up carrots?

Heath:  Gwen, have I told you lately that I love you?
Gwen:  No!

Parker:  I know why it’s called California!  Because of all the animals! 
Parents:  What?
Heath:  Oh!  It’s California (heavy emphasis on the L sound) not COWifornia!

Me:  What’s the weather like in your world, Gavin?
Gavin:  It’s always sunny and warm.  And it only rains on the plants.  There’s also dogs.  Everyone has a dog.
Parker:  I hate dogs.  There are no dogs in my world!

Gavin:  The sun was friendly and the wind was like ROAR!

Gwen:  Shake a bum!
Then she shakes her bum.  We have no idea where she picked that up!

Heath was on his way to work one morning and from behind Gwen’s closed door we heard:  Peek-a-boo Daddy!

Parker:  What rhymes with garage?
Me:  I don’t know.  Barrage?
Parker:  No!  That’s not even a word!

Gwen:  What that noisy?  Dad butt?

Heath:  Gavin, what happened to your hip?  You have a really big bruise!
Gavin (in a 6 year old boy/Valley Girl voice):  I.  Do not.  Know!  (then really fast)  ButthebruiseonmykneeisfromwhenIhitthechair!

The places books will take you . . .

Books are awesome.  When I was a kid I remember buying books any chance I could.  Book orders, school book fairs, the bookstore.  I loved books.  In fact, I probably would have listed reading as a skill and hobby on a child resume.  Yes, I was a geek. 

I started ordering The Gymnasts, a series of books about four girls on a gymnastics team.  My addiction got out of control.  The author kept writing and I kept buying.  But one time Scholastic didn’t have the book I ordered so they gave me one I already had as a way to make it up to me.  Nice.  I had two number 4 books in the series. 

So I saved my cash to buy number 13.  My mom was sweet enough to take me to the bookstore in the mall to make my major purchase.  I quickly found the book I needed and we walked to the cashier’s counter.  I laid down the book and proceeded to count out the price of the book in change.  Most of them were pennies. 

At the time I didn’t realize my mom was extremely embarrassed.  When that thought occurred to me years later I couldn’t understand why.  I was a child.  Kids in the 80’s only had cash, most of which was found on the street.  Now that I’m a mother with a brood of my own, I feel her pain.  Not that my kids have paid for anything with pennies but I get how embarrassing kids can be in public.  So sorry Mom! 

Oh but that woman sure gave us a love of books.  Every summer she would sign us up for the summer reading program at the library.  I don’t remember any of the prizes but I do remember it was a yearly thing to be counted on.  I loved it. 

I thought of my mom today as I took my kids to the library and signed up my boys for the summer reading program.  They are excited to read.  I told Gavin that our daily scripture reading will count too so we need to keep track of time.  He was pretty happy about that.  It reminded me of his A’s Reading Contract he completed to see an Oakland A’s game with his dad.  I still need to write that story! 

When we were at the library the boys were playing with the toys.  I got Gwen out of her stroller so she could play too.  That girl took off like a rocket.  She ran as fast as her two year old legs could carry her all the way around the Summer Reading Program tent to the other side of the children’s play area.  She continued to run straight for the big wooden alligator that holds all the board books for young children.  Gwen grabbed a Monster’s Inc. book and ran all the way back to the table the boys were at. 

The boys had this look of surprised confusion on their faces like they weren’t sure what just happened and why did I leave without telling them.  I was just as confused as they were.  Gwen acted like she knew exactly what she wanted, although I have no idea how she was able to spot that book the way we entered the children’s section of the library.  She was sitting on one of the big fluffy chairs at the table reading her Monster’s Inc. book to herself. 

Oh that girl makes me laugh. 

We got home in time for lunch.  Gavin insisted that I make something out of his cook book he bought at a school book fair.  It’s Better Homes and Gardens Snack Attack Return of the Munchies. 

Preparing more interesting food for my children was also on my list of things to do this summer.  We just haven’t finished our grocery shopping yet.  I don’t know why.  And I hate grocery shopping and have been doing enough other errands the last couple days that are beyond my comfort zone as the publicly anxiety ridden person I am, that I refuse to take my gaggle grocery shopping!  That was an overshare. 

I looked through the book thinking there must be something I could make.  I found it. 

That's-a-Wrap

Did I enlarge that enough?  If not, you can always click on the picture to see more detail. 

I had everything but the granola.  So I improvised by taking one of the packages of Nature’s Harvest granola bars and smashing it in a baggie with a meat tenderizer.  I’m so resourceful. 

It was a yummy lunch.  I forgot there were nutrition facts so I counted carbs myself and bolused according to my own calculations.  My guess is there are a lot more carbs than 28 grams per wrap.  The tortilla is 20 grams on its own plus there’s peanut butter and apple and granola.  I figured my wrap plus a glass of milk was worth 59 grams of carbs.  I guess high at lunch because I tend to be really insulin and carb resistant this time of day. 

The kids liked it but the two little ones had a hard time figuring out how to eat it without the wrap falling apart on them.  So you see how they wrapped it all up in a napkin?  Do that.  Gwen took her first bite from the bottom and was upset that the guts were spilling all over her plate.  Parker kept setting his down so it would unfold itself.  He kept growling at it calling it a naughty wrap!  Ha ha!  That kid.  No worries, I still plan on adding to the Say What post I promised yesterday. 

We will read our library books now and mark off the first half hour toward a flashlight.  It’s a camping theme this year.  How did another day zoom by so fast? 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Welcome Summer Vacation!

Saturday morning crept into our room with sunshine, high blood sugar, and Gavin standing at the gate saying an enthusiastic, “Welcome Summer Vacation!” It’s been a whirlwind ever since.

I had big plans for this summer. Top of the priority list was to spend time with my kids. Check. Having fun was a close second along with doing all the nothing one can cram into a day as possible.

Then I have a real list like get Gwen me off of sippy cups. She is perfectly capable of drinking out of a cup. She never spills and even remembers to keep the cup away from the edge of the table most of the time. I just find sippy cups much easier all the way around. Must get over this!

I also decided to wait until Gavin was out of school to potty train Gwen. Hmm, not sure if this was such a great idea. But reality is now is as good a time as any. At least we don’t have places we have to be every day. I just feel like I’m the one being trained in the beginning!

I took pictures of the potty chair outside yesterday and Gwen riding her trike wearing a t-shirt and a pull up. It was so white trash I couldn’t resist. But I think I will spare her the humiliation of having the pictures posted! I think a scrapbook page will be enough emotional damage.

So far I have done two days of the EA Active 30 day challenge on the Wii. I had to set up a new profile because I have tried the 30 day challenge twice in the last year or so. The time has definitely expired so I get no congratulations from Julio, my trainer. I finally finished it last month. It only took me a year to complete 20 days worth of exercises. That seems reasonable right? Well, I am doing it this time. I get my first rest day tomorrow. I haven’t even been doing my fitness ball afterwards but my abs are killing me. I am looking forward to a little break.

One thing I hate about any school vacation is the build up in all of our minds before it happens and finally having most of the vacation end in constant fighting. So I decided to schedule our days. I’m not an organized person but I find that my family and I really thrive on schedules.

I’m still working on fine tuning the daily schedule but so far the afternoon part is working pretty well. I get Gwen down for a nap then the boys work on academic type stuff. I had a friend, a sixth grate teacher, schedule her kids’ like this in the summer. At the time I thought she was a mean mother but I am starting to see some value in it. Gavin needs to work on his handwriting and the reading and math doesn’t hurt. Parker works on the same things too. They love it. For real. I love that the house is quiet in the afternoons.

Gavin and I have been reading in the Book of Mormon. His reading has improved so much in one school year. I was impressed with how little I had to help him yesterday. Parker loves to listen to books on CD and follow along. Today we read Dr. Seuss books together. Parker knows so much more than Gavin ever did before entering kindergarten.

Between all the potty training, exercising, academic practice, and playing, the days get away from me. I know I don’t have to blog every day but I like doing it. There’s just not much to say right now. Sorry this is such a boring post. I do have a Say What post I’ve been adding to for a while. I’ll post that next so you have something entertaining to read. I had to write this so I could get the writing juices going again.

Friday, June 11, 2010

C’est Finis

The last day came with a lot of fanfare and partying.  The first graders took their last field trip today by walking across the street to the park.  My wonderful friend, Linda, agreed to watch Parker and Gwen for me so I could go on the field trip.

The field trip was organized well.  There were different stations in the park that the classes would go to.  It was brilliant.  Gavin’s class started out in the water.  It was 9:30 am and the air hadn’t finished warming up yet but nothing was going to stop those kids from celebrating in the water.  It reminded me of the movie Stand and Deliver after the kids finished taking the AP Calculus test. 

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Too much fun! 

When our turn with this station was over we headed to the picnic tables for a snack.  Everyone got a big piece of watermelon then played on the playground.

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Gavin had fun running around with everyone.  I had a hard time taking pictures of him on the playground. 

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The teachers had everyone sit on the steps for some pictures.  With every picture I took today, the sun was so bright I had no idea when was a good time to snap the shot.  It was hard to see in my little camera window.  So I took about 10 of these class on the stairs shots! 

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Then we moved to the grass for some parachute time.  I took a million of these pictures too.  I should have done video of the kids not listening to instructions.  It was hilarious.  The teachers would tell them how to move the parachute or play a game and half the kids were clueless. 

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The kids were so excited to go camping by making the parachute a tent but it took a few times with parent help to get the kids under the parachute and sitting on it from behind.  They played the color game again and I think it made more sense under the parachute.  Some kids, including Gavin, could not figure out to run under the parachute to another spot of the same color.  I think Gavin changed his color a couple times because he was so confused. 

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The last game they played was Duck Duck Goose.  Those kids were fast.  Teachers were running full steam and not catching the kids.  Poor pregnant Mrs. H.  She kept getting picked to run. 

Finally it was lunch time.  The kids were starving and looking forward to pizza.  Gavin’s class was smart enough to sit on blankets in the shade.  The picnic tables were in full sun and it was starting to get really hot. 

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The teachers posed with kids for pictures.  Gavin has loved being in first grade with these two wonderful teachers. 

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The kids went back to the classroom for a minute.  Don’t they all look so tired?  Gavin came home and stared catatonically at the TV for a short movie Parker wanted to watch.  He’s getting his second wind now. 

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As we left I had to get a picture of Gavin with the student teacher.  Her eyes were closed in this picture so I got another one.  But she doesn’t look like she blinked.  It actually looks like she just loves Gavin that much!  No, she blinked. 

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Here are her eyes!  Gavin loved both student teachers his class had this year.  I never really had the chance to talk to the first one but I have seen her around working with other classes. 

This one, the one Gavin posed for the picture with, is so sweet.  She has always gone out of her way to find me to pay me the nicest compliments about not only Gavin but my whole family.  She thinks he is sweet.  No surprise there.  He is sweet. 

Today she complimented his writing.  She said he writes great stories.  Melt a writer’s heart!  She usually talks about how sweet Gavin’s stories are because he writes about Gwen a lot.  She says Gavin shows so much love for his family in his writing.  Maybe Heath and I are doing a good job as parents after all. 

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I was hoping to see the principal on our way out.  He was at the front receiving hug after hug after hug and signing yearbooks.  I had to get a picture of Gavin with him.  He was quite the principal.  He reminds me of Mr. Jensen, my elementary school principal, who also loved his students out loud.  Mr. S also reminds me of a principal at North Elementary in Cedar City, UT where I did most of my practicum experiences in college.  That principal knew every student by name.  That impressed me so much.  Same with Mr. S.  He knows every student and cares deeply for all of them. 

The services he has provided our family have been priceless as they are above the call of duty.  He will be missed. 

The day we have eagerly anticipated is here.  The last day.  School is done.  Over.  C’est finis.  Surprisingly, I am pretty sad about it all.  Saying goodbye is hard to do.  Try it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Adventure Around Every Corner

This month’s Relief Society activity was on staycations.  Did you know that’s a real word?  It’s true.  According to Wikipedia, the term was added to the 2009 version of the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

We talked about the myriad of staycation options here in the San Francisco Bay Area.  We didn’t even touch the many things to do in Southern California!  It was a great activity.  So simple yet so informative. 

One idea briefly mentioned was Sycamore Grove.  I have heard the name of this place mentioned but I have no idea what it is.  I think it’s a beautiful place to hike and bike.  My friend, Sheila, has never been there either but she called and asked if I wanted to check it out with her. 

She picked me up with scooters loaded for the boys she babysits.  We loaded up Parker’s bike but left Gwen’s trike behind because Sheila had a stroller for her.  Gwen doesn’t really pedal her trike anyway. 

We headed out to Sycamore Grove with only Google Maps as our guide.  We drove along enjoying the company of everyone as well as the scenery.  About the point that we stopped for expensive gas was the point Google’s directions started to fail.  Sheila and I exchanged getting lost in a car stories and laughed.  We were having fun.  The kids were getting a little restless.  Well, mine were anyway. 

Conversation turned to stories we were told as kids.  Those teasing things you tell siblings because they’re gullible and so trusting.  I think every kid is told they were adopted at least once in their life.  I was told I came with the house.  Sheila’s sisters had her thinking she was adopted from an Indian Reservation.  My brother told me not to spit in the sink because everything drained to Ethiopia and those people didn’t want toothpaste spit in their drinking water!  He also told me cheese wheels used to be made from ear wax.  I believed all of it, trusting soul that I was.  No wonder I’m so skeptical of everything now! 

The more we drove and talked the more it was becoming very apparent the directions were not working for us.  We had no idea where we were and there were no signs to help us out.  So we gave up.  I think if there weren’t kids involved I would have told her to keep driving around.  I would have paid for gas and we could have just kept talking on our adventure.  But the kids were all starting to ask that dreaded question.

Are we there yet?

So we went back to home base and to a park.  We unloaded the bike, scooters and helmets.  Gwen was very put out that she didn’t have anything to ride.  Not only that but she wasn’t allowed to play with anyone else’s stuff!  The indignity of it all. 

So I called Heath, who was working from home today to deal with the DMV.  Again.  Long story.  I will say don’t ever do business with Well’s Fargo.  They’re idiots.  Anyway, I told Heath to bring by Gwen’s trike.  And he did.

In the meantime, the kids wore themselves out on what I assume is the longest slide ever to be at a neighborhood park with no bathrooms. 

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That’s not even the whole slide.  Wait, here’s a better picture . . .

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I don’t care who you are, that’s impressive.  Sheila held two year old Ryan on her lap and went down.  I was nervous to let Gwen have at it so I figured I would hold her too.  

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No.  Gwen has absolutely no fear.  She insisted on going down herself. 

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You can see the look of pure joy on her face. 

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Then she would head up the stairs for more.  Unstoppable Gwen.

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Childhood bliss. 

The kids played on the playground and rode bikes a little.  We had lunch.  Since it is a neighborhood park with no bathroom we couldn’t stay for too long. 

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I took a few pictures of the kids.  Ryan and Tyler are the sweetest boys.  We will definitely miss them.  Tyler will start kindergarten in the fall like Parker.  Just not at the same school, of course.  We live in no man’s land so all our ward friends and friends of ward friends go to different schools.  Sheila will still watch Ryan if his parents need her to but it sounds like he may be in a day care/preschool right next to his mom’s classroom. 

Sheila told me this was the last time she was babysitting before summer.  She said it as I was unloading stuff in front of my house.  It finally hit me.  School ends tomorrow.  While I’m excited I’m actually sad too.  I have enjoyed Thursday play dates with Sheila.  Friday park day may disband for the summer as well.  We’ll see.  Most of the parents I see at school every day will be there next year but one, who I have become friends with over the last two years, is moving to Canada.  It’s all sinking in now.  So sad. 

Today was a great adventure.  Summer is the next adventure.  There’s always an adventure around every corner.  In the Bay Area, adventure awaits in your own backyard.