Monday, June 30, 2008

Project Support Beauty in Nature

I don't think I ever posted an update on how I am doing regarding doing my part to clean up the earth. In my past post about this topic (link to follow later as I'm typing this on my crackberry while I wait for my car to be smog checked) I intended to put dispopsable gloves in my car so I would always have a sanitary way to pick up trash (I didn't though). I also planned to pick up trash every monday when I took Kate to the park (I didn't though and stopped going to the park w/ any regularity). I think I also planned to have a monthly family outing in which the sole purpose was to pick up trash (we didn't though).
You might wonder then, just what have I done? Well, I stopped buying paper napkins - we now use only cloth. I am slowly trying to wean myself off the paper towels. I started collecting the little plastic produce bags and I re-use them when I go to the farmer's market. I parked the SUV and am now driving the sedan because it gets better gas mileage. I started saving the little green baskets that berries and tomatoes come in and I return them to the farmer's market when I go shopping. When I go to target and I only have a few items (rare, but still) I ask them to hold the bag. I have always re-used my paper bags and I continue to do so. I pack fresh foods in re-usable containers in the boys lunches and they have re-usable water bottles (not disposable arrowhead bottles). I also put in cloth napkins and silverware instead of plasticware.
I also started engaging the boys in conversation about conservation, particularly after seeing wall-e which is partly about an uninhabitable earth. I was impressed with how much they already know both from our own practice and from earth day education at school.
There is much left to do but this is a good, sustainable start.

What are you doing?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dean's Breakthrough

I don't know what the trigger was - being with the big kids at school? - but Dean had a breakthrough today and that kid swam.
And swam.
And swam.

He swam the length of P 'n J's pool with a small break in the middle for a breath. He jumped off the side into the deep end without hesitation, popped to the surface and swam to me in the middle of the pool. He did a cannonball. He dove for superhero diving buddies. He practiced falling into the pool, turning himself around and swimming to the side. He practiced that over and over. He swam in that pool nonstop for a solid hour.

And then, he slept.
And slept.
And slept.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer camp

The daycare does a full summer program every year for returning schoolkids. Since Jack and Dean are entering kindergarten in the fall they were promoted into the schoolage program with the big kids. That means they don't take naps and they have to keep up with the big kids. It's great experience for them as they navigate the hierarchy and I'm completely comfortable with it knowing that most of these kids have been attending the daycare since they were babies so they are almost as patient and kind as the teachers. Every day this week when I've arrived to take them home, Jack is playing with the big kids - mostly basketball or he takes turns on the big kids' diez - and Dean is playing with the girls or Frank and James. No naps though is taking a toll - they are exhausted by the time we get home. They have that "summer" look - bloodshot eyes, skin still shining with sunscreen, cheeks flushed with heat and exertion. They're too tired to eat, too tired to put their shoes/clothes/lunch boxes away, too tired to go to bed. And it isn't just the lack of naptime that has them so beat - it's all the activities! They went swimming Monday and Tuesday, went to the lake for swimming and castle building yesterday, and rollerskating today. The rest of the summer is equally busy. There's piano and recorder lessons for those interested, trips to the beach for camping, disneyland, catalina island, movies, and swimming every day. Of course there's also the restaurant week in July when the kids create the menu, do the shopping, cooking, serving, take reservations, etc. The end of the summer potluck BBQ will be a bittersweet day - truly Jack and Dean's last day at the daycare (except they'll return each summer) but the kids put on a show and I'll be smiling through my tears.

And that's all I can do, really. Give them guidance but give them room to grow, watch as they try to make their way, give encouragement and advice but ultimately get out of their way. Then stand from the sidelines and be proud - smiling through my tears.


Fell asleep in the car on the way home. Summer camp is really kicking his butt!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June 25, 2008

On our way back from Yellowstone in 1998, Tom and I talked about marriage. He asked me why I wanted to get married and, even then after 8 years of being together I was guarded, afraid to let too much of myself out. My response, if I remember correctly, was that I wanted legitimacy. Wow, that’s sexy. Romantic, too. Hard to believe he didn’t drop down on one knee right then and there.

Remarkably though, he did drop down on one knee just a few months later and just six months after that we were exchanging I Dos in the clearing of a forest overlooking Lake Tahoe, smiling at each other as the sun streamed down between the branches.

If he were to ask me today why I wanted to get married my response would be this:
Because I am in love with you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to watch you become a dad and fall more in love with you every day. And I want everyone else to know that you are the one I choose. I want to stand up in front of our family and closest friends and declare that you are the man of my dreams, the one I will love and cherish for the rest of my life. That is why I want to get married.
Our wedding day was filled with laughter and emotion, not unlike our life together. And here we are 9 years later and I'm happier than I ever dreamed I could be.

An excerpt from a poem read at our wedding:
It Couldn't Be Done
Somebody said it couldn’t be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That ‘maybe it couldn’t,’ but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing and he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
~Edgar Guest

Happy Anniversary my love.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Milestones . . . of a sort

As we pulled up to daycare this morning:

Jack: Oh! James is here!

Dean: And Frank?! Is Frank here too?

Both boys scramble to unlatch seat belts and jump out of the car. They both start waving madly and yelling HI JAMES!!!

James: Hi Jack. Hi Dean.

Dean: (with a look of amazement) I can't believe he remembered me.

Oh, the reverence for the 6 year old Kindergarten graduate.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Another Kate Update

She has gained 4 pounds in a week.

Buy stock in Alpo.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Preschool on TV

Noggin, a kid's TV network, has an ad campaign that likens it's network of shows to being like pre-school. "It's like pre-school on TV", it boasts. In other ads it is suggested that everyone wishes their day was structured like pre-school. There would be naps after lunch and storytime!

Clearly the ad men behind that campaign have never been in the car when two pre-schoolers were having an argument about whether boogers taste good or gross.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Father's Gift

Fathers get a bit of a bum rap these days, right? I mean, look at any sitcom and you’ll find a lovable but bumbling dad, somehow managing to barrel through family life despite seeming somewhat, well, dim. Meanwhile, the mom is managing the household and holding down her full time job, picking up after the kids and, of course, cleaning up the dad’s mistakes all within the allotted 22 minutes.

What? I’m not saying it doesn’t represent reality.

But seriously, it’s generally the case that the mom knows just exactly how many teaspoons of Tylenol to give to a sick child (or, in the case of a certain set of twins, which child only responds to Tylenol and which one only responds to Motrin – guess right in the comments and you might win a prize). The mom is more likely the one who will hire the babysitter, fill out the school applications, and plan the birthday party (or RSVP as the case may be). We are the organizers, the task masters, the list keepers and underwear washers.

So what then is the Father’s gift? You’ll find it in the quiet moments. It’s not so visible; not so full of sighs and responsibility. It’s the patience in the voice of a man who is showing his son how to string fishing line and attach a bobber. It’s the look of awe that crosses his face when his son shows him the caterpillar, the moth, or the june bug that he found. It is heard at night through the crack in the door as he tells stories to his children in the dark. It is in the unconventional approach whether it is watching planes move across the sky instead of telling a bedtime story or taking a late night stroll to calm an upset babe. Dads care about experiences, memories, journeys – they don’t care if the shirt matches the pants or that the child needs a haircut. They let the kids stain the cabinet even if it means the color is uneven. They let the kids drive the boat because it’s in the middle of an empty lake and the kids will never forget how big they felt. They take the kids camping where they get to stoke the fire and feel like big kids as they look at the stars and tell stories around the campfire. Theirs is a unique gift – not so celebrated, but no less important.

On this Father’s day, I am so grateful to have a partner who ignores my worried looks and lets the kids drive the boat, who calmly and patiently packs up his fishing gear after having his line in for only 15 minutes, who encourages me to go away for a weekend, who quietly adds favorite movies to our tivo just to surprise me and the boys, who loves watching the basketball game with his sons cheering right along with him, who can’t wait for soccer games and t-ball, who is honestly the most wonderful man I could have chosen.

Happy Father’s Day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Balloon Festival

Here are some shots from our weekend at the balloon festival.

The boys get in one of the baskets.

Jack watches the balloon get fired up from a safe distance.

Dean gets a lift from his dad.

The girls get in the balloon.

Tom lends a hand.
Sunday we went to a local lake and rented a little fishing boat.
Dean did his share of driving.
Not surprisingly, Jack loved to drive.

In other news, the boys got into the elementary school that I was hoping for (yippee!) so that's one less thing to worry about.

Don't worry, I'll find something else to fixate on soon.

Kate Update

She is recovering well. She came home on Saturday, picked up by my friend and neighbor Kelly while we were at the hot air balloon festival. She takes her oral medication like a champ. My old dog Max was never fooled by mozzarella cheese or peanut butter and I'd always find his pill lying in a slobbery puddle on the floor. Kate, on the other hand, loves people food of every variety and is so excited to eat it that she couldn't care less about what you try to sneak by her.
I've been adding some wet food to her dry and she gobbles it up voraciously. It seems she had been suffering from this disease for a long time and we thought she was just a picky eater.
I brushed her last night while the boys watched the basketball game (Go Celtics!) and she was so happy.
Speaking of the boys, I can't tell you how amazing it is to be sitting in my backyard in the darkening twilight brushing my sweet, devoted dog and hear these sudden bursts of emotion and cheer ringing out of the living room. It's how I'd always hoped my life would be.
Sweet and simple, full of love.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Our beautiful girl has been in the hospital since yesterday morning. Her behavior suddenly got very strange on Wednesday and we took her to the vet yesterday. She was lethargic and disoriented and completely pooped out after just a short walk around the neighborhood. It turns out, after extensive testing, that she has Addison's Disease. Her sodium level was too low, potassium too high and according to the lab results she has no cortisone in her blood. She is on an IV drip now to replenish her fluids and she received a shot of prednisone and cortisone. She will be able to come home tomorrow and will recover fully but will need ongoing medical care with monthly cortisone shots and oral medication every other day.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Happy Birthday Momma!

Happy Birthday Momma!
This is me sitting on the balcony just outside my office enjoying a frosty Guinness in your honor!
I hope you have a wonderful birthday!


Weekend Wrap Up

We went to a festival last weekend. You wouldn't know it from the looks on their faces but the boys were really excited to go on this ride.


It was really hard to get a good shot of them on this one.

It was a festival to celebrate the Parks and Recreation centers. It was held at a big park with tons of vendors, three stages with bands and other performers, booths of merchandise and arts/crafts. We thought we'd be there for an hour or so.
This picture was taken about 5 hours after that:
In case you can't tell by the lighting - it was nighttime. Almost an hour past their bedtime. But, there were fireworks to be seen and that last batch of tickets to be spent. They had a great time.
The next day was spent in our backyard playing with water and climbing trees (and I played with my camera).

I love this picture of Dean. He looks so grown up.

Dean sticks out his tongue when he's hard at work. He had just looked up when I took this.

Doesn't Jack resemble Peter Pan?

Jack still loves climbing the peach tree and can get pretty high now. I try not to watch when he goes too high.

This is Kate. She is waiting for Jack to throw the ball. She will not take her eyes off him until that ball flies.

And when it flies, she catches it almost every single time.

This is what she does when she's ready for a break. She lays down by the shed with her toy in front of her. She is still a sweet, smart dog and we are continually amazed at our good fortune.

This is just one peach-laden branch on our peach tree. We are going to be swimming in peaches in just a few weeks. I'm collecting all recipes for cobblers, crumbles, jams, and pies so if you have one that's fabulous, send it my way.

In other news, the boys will not be performing in High School Musical. They were so miserably unhappy at rehearsal that we finally decided that it's just not their thing. So, no future actors in our midst.

We are going to a hot air balloon festival with the Sullivans this weekend and then Tom's cousin visits from Pennsylvania next weekend so June is really busy for us.

We find out on Friday if the boys got into the elementary school that we're hoping for. Fingers crossed please.