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My One Regret

I can never tell if I like baking or not.  So much mess, such exact measuring for such a small output.  I would so much rather chop vegetables on the wooden cutting board, adding spices and flavorings at random.  Making meals I think are more my thing.  You?

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When I am on my deathbed, I will have one regret.  That I didn’t capture Elijah on camera the first time he said, ‘Actually.’

“Oh yeah, I like to play dis “ack-choo-ally,” with his little baby whisper voice.

He, on the other hand, prefers baking.  This is the birthday cake he made me, even sang a song. And just at the last minute before he handed it to me, he realized what he was doing and informed me it was ‘act-choo-ally’ his birthday, and kept it.  And asked me to sing for him.

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Finley asked me to buy him this cereal, because….

“Because it looks like bunny poop.”

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I was so delighted and shocked, and he saw it in my face, so his excitement was matching mine, cause in his heart, he knew, we were makin’ it HAPPEN!  Chocolate bunny poop cereal it was.

Is it weird that I will cherish this memory forever?

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There’s just something about the beach, isn’t there?  My two Russians must have always been meant to be Californians.  These two little best friend brothers like nothing more than to run, side by side, literally in and out of the water, dig and laugh for hours.  Really–just looking at each other and laughing.

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The beach had brought this one so much confidence.  The first time Andrew went in with her, she clawed him like a drowning cat, scared and crying, filled with fear.  Now she sails the waves with ease.  We spend pool time working on treading water for 5 minutes to qualify for junior life guards next summer, “So I can help save lives, that would be cool.”

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I taught Maria and Finley to do still life painting.  When I was in the credential program, an art teacher told us the best thing to do with kids is to ask them, “What do you see, what do you notice, what else, what else,” and even if it’s random and off the wall, honor it.  Have them look and observe and notice more.

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Sunday late morning outside, Daddy hands deep in dirt, mommy laying chicken poop in the garden, sensory play a laughing raucous, Maria and Finley working on a high fives 10 or 11 times–so close. Elijah, loving, then hating each second in rotation. Food and love at our fingertips, streaming through veins.

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My shoeless wonder.  My kids are more content playing in shaded wooden areas than with sunny plastic slides and scary (for me!) metal rounded death ladders (why is that a thing!?)

Here, they can stretch out, finding small novelties on branches and in the dirt, cozy places to crouch and explore.

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Reading together.  Elijah will listen for a bit, but Finley and she will sit long, reading even non-fiction and schooling me on them later.

“Oh, are you guys reading about the sun?” -me, casually over their shoulder as they read the Magic School Bus.

Shocked: “Mom!  It’s a baby star!!”

“My bad…”

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Check out the Eyeball on the shoulder action–so funny to me, haha

 

 

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We took Maria with us to a wedding this summer.  A lovely wedding, the sweet wedding of dear friends who we love!  Such an incredible couple who we believe will change the world.  During the ceremony, we felt and saw the holy spirit move.   Maria felt so special and so grown up that whole night.

 

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Then, something amazing happened.  Maria doesn’t like to dance, she feels way too self conscious and would rather sit, glued.  But then AJ happened.  Aj sat with her, taught her some moves she could do with just her hands while sitting, “Here, watch me!  Let’s do it together, you are AMAZING!!!  This is our special move, when I get back, we can do it again, ok?”

Maria grinned.

And then…before we knew it, Maria was….

 

 

On the dance floor.

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Andrew and I were shocked.

Aj did all the work, dancing around while Maria grinned, and moved her arms, that special dance move.  But as time went on, she came alive, in front of everyone.  She danced and danced, she smiled and let her spirit free as she sailed her hands up into the sky, threw her head back.  Fear and worry weren’t on that dance floor, but a little girl, alive in herself, freedom pouring through the music.  His spirit always brings growth and healing.

 

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I say, don’t be in love with the idea of changing the world, but actually do it.  You can, even for just one.

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Trains, Trollies, Art and the Best Big Sister

This morning, the kids and I took a train down town to the New Children’s Museum.  Andrew had to work to help one of his clients migrate their new server (um–what?) so Maria and I packed a back pack, I dug out the Ergo and woke the kids up early.  This was Maria’s first train trip.  Finley wore his conductor hat, and each boy brought a tiny, wooden Thomas.

The train was crowded in the morning, the us four had to cram into two little aisle seats next to people who didn’t seem to be very happy.  That didn’t stop the two boys from pointed out the surfers catching early morning waves as they whizzed by the windows from the second story, the mossy lagoons with egrets  serene in the gray mist and airplanes flying at our same speed and level.  “MAMA!!  MAMA!!  LOOK!” they pointed eagerly across the seats, chirping at the sights as Maria and I praised them.

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Elijah was on my back, and Maria wore all our day’s items in the back pack #TeamWork!  This day could not have happened if it weren’t for Maria, we were such a team.  At first we were sad Daddy couldn’t come, but looking back, I am glad Maria and I had this expereince of travling with the boys together, we work so well together, so insync.   Even–sneak preview, running down the sidewalk, each with a boy in our arms, and barely making the connecting trolly.  We could NOT have been happier when we were sitting in those seats, us four.

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Maria does art every day, but I told her this Museum has art you can play with, she couldn’t wrap her mind around what I could mean by that, since most of her art is done on paper or canvas.  But as we all learned today, art is more than technique on paper.  (Our friends got free tickets for us at the library, who knew!?)

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Rolling out clay

 

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Swinging makes the music

 

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Painting a real tractor

 

 

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Wobbly fruit in the sink

 

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They told me they were Max in his sailboat sailing towards the Wild Things

 

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Working on Back Bends

 

And Finally, the worlds best big sister, just being herself, always able to gather two little wild things right into whatever she is doing, which is always to help, love, teach or show them something kind.

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It was just after noon and the boys were nearing that done moment after an incredible moring immersed in art.  I check my clock…we had very little time to catch the train at 12:27…the only train before 3PM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We would still have to catch the trolly, which wasn’t too close.

“Awwww nah!!!”  So, heads up, I am NOT a planner, or detail oriented, but, maybe, “Do the best with what we have,” mentality…?  I think that’s how I would describe myself.  And usually everything turns out better than great, so we’re good :)

But anyways, once I looked at my watch I looked at Maria and said, “We have to run.”

She scooped up Elijah, and I scooped up the heavy Finley and we ran.  I was trying to type, “Trolly Station,” into the walking directions of my phone, but I kept typing the darn wrong letters!!  Running with a heavy toddler and one free, bouncy arm just doesn’t mesh.

We cut through some grass, which Finley obviously had strong feelings about, “No graaaasssssss….”

“We can’t miss this train!” I tell Maria, she knows.

A trolly is pulling up, one on each side, which do we pick, I ask a homeless man, “Does this trolly go to the Santa Fe Depot?”

“Um, yes, this one on this side that is leaving right now…” so we squeeze between the closing doors and Maria and I flop onto two little seats, “Oh my gosh!!  This is working!” I tell her, the boys are silent in our arms, ready for naps, Maria and I smile at each other, catching our breathes.

Two stops down we hop transer to the open doors of the train.  It was empty, “Does this train go to Encinitas?” I ask a woman and a man in full glitter.

“Um….like, you mean….going…um…North?”

“YES!”

“Yes.”

We had made it!!!  Save three hours of terrible no nap tears.  We even had room to stretch out.  :)

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Cozy and stuck with mama in the ergo

 

And we sailed right home, and into naps!  It was amazing.  Ahhh, what would I do without my sweet, incredible preteen?  Without whom, this day would not have been possible.  Such a rockstar!

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She finished her library book on the final trip home (Which also, oh my gosh…if someone were to have told me one year ago….I think I should do a whole post about that later, such a brave little hard work. Such an overcomer!)

 

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Ok so I’d love to hear, what about you?  Do you brave public transit often with your little ones?  There seems to be an initial learning curve.  What are you up to this weekend?  What kind of museums are the favorite for your kids?  Let me know, I’d love to hear!

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Someday

Someday when God does away with borders and flags and what separates us, I think we’re going to wish we would have seen each other as equal.  Loved like our lives depended on it.  Maybe wished we would have opened up our spare rooms to prostitutes, or scooped one of the lonely kids off the floors of an orphanage, and welcomed them into the flow of our lives.  Still living life, but adding in more to the flow of what already is.

Sometimes people have been asking me if I want one more ‘of my own.’  I always think that question is so strange.  I try to help them out, by looking at the three of my own right here, and reminding them, “In a little while, I will have four of my own…four is kind of a lot.”  Maybe that’s just what happens, no matter how many you have, people always ask if there will be more.

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Loving and living for other people doesn’t make life easier, but it makes life richer.  So much so I can’t describe it.  Sometimes I try to think back on what we used to do with all our time, and the only answer I can think of is a whole bunch of sh*t—I kind of remember Bed Bath and Beyond somewhere in there.

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