Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Four Decades

The dad of the house had a birthday.  Even though this dad has been known to be the life of the party once or twice...he doesn't particularly like being the center of his own celebrations.  So birthday number 40 was celebrated backyard style with family and friends.  

The birthday boy  proudly wore his birthday hat that Callie secretly made especially for him.  She measured the paper around one of Jon's ball caps so that it would  be a perfect fit.  The hat had no other embellishment other that three simple letters that signify what it is to be 40... dad.

Forty years.  When you are happy where you're at there are not many groans about getting older and I never heard a single complaint about being forty from this dad.  Happy four decades!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In The Meantime

Cooler than normal summer temperatures are not words I like to hear.  Especially in July.  Each day has me praying for the heat to come back.  The kind of heat where we say things like, "it's too hot to do anything" or "you better eat your ice cream fast" or  "let's get to a lake".  

In the meantime, we've been filling our days with giant dinosaurs and mermaids...

We've been playing Barbies and instilling unrealistic and slightly ridiculous dreams and goals by watching Barbie's Princess Charm School movie multiple times.  Balancing books on our head has now become one of our new pastimes around here.  You just never know when you might get called upon to be a princess.

We've pimped our rides.  The training wheels are back on Tigger and he's sporting a princess basket for a new, updated look for his current owner.

Callie picked out a new bike to accommodate her rapid leg growth.  Basically she got the only bike in town that was her size so I very loosely use the term picked out.  She is more than pleased with her pick which is really all that matters.  And she promised that if I bought her the bike horn that she wouldn't be annoying with it!

Cloudy days call for some color.  Break open some paint and a couple of dollar store canvases, a few buttons and some glue and there you have it.  An afternoon of creative inspiration.  As with any art project, you'll find me still gluing buttons long after the girls have ditched me for other things.  

Callie is going to day camp this week.  This is a big deal for her. I always encourage her to try things but I will likely always struggle with when to gently push her and when to step back and follow her lead.  I decided to push for these five days of camp. The instructor is her Kindergarten teacher and several of her classmates are also participating so  logic and reason confirmed with me that this would be an okay time to gently encourage her to try something new.

With Callie at camp, I've had a some quality time slurping smoothies with little sister at our favorite coffee shop.
The first day of camp had a longish drop off as I stayed until she had a chance to get comfortable with the surroundings.  When it was time for me to leave, she was brave.  Her face was smothered in apprehension as she hugged me goodbye somehow managing to hold her tears in her watery eyes.  When I picked her up she was in the middle of  a game, seemingly enjoying herself.  On the way home I asked about her day.  All her tears came rolling out.  She did not want to go back.  

The second day drop off time was a bit shorter but still full of apprehension, bravery, tight hugs and damp eyes.  And the pickup was much the same, she was engaged in a game but eager to go home when she saw me coming.  On the way home I asked her about the show they were working on that the parents were invited to come and watch at the end of the week.  The mention of this show opened her emotional floodgates.  "I don't want to be in the show.  I'm supposed to say a poem.  The other girls are doing a dance.  I don't even know what I'm supposed to do.  Why do I have to be in the show?  Why do I have to go to this camp?" The desperation in her voice and the angst look on her sweet, freckled, little six year old face had me questioning whether I was doing the right thing.  

I decided that she should finish the five days of camp mostly because I believe we should finish what we start, fulfill our commitments even if it's not easy.  But I agreed to talk to the teacher to find out the importance of this show and weigh it against the anxiety it seems to be responsible for.  

Today I told her it was her decision if she wanted to be in the show at the end of the week.  She was to practice with her group each day but if she didn't want to be in the show then she didn't have too.  She said, "okay" and looked like the world had been lifted off her shoulders. I have no idea if this was the right or wrong thing to do.  Like I said, I will probably always struggle with when to push and when to hold back. When I dropped her off, I hung around for a bit because I could and I had time.  I left when the formal activities were starting.  I got extra hugs goodbye.  And all eyes were dry.

When I picked her up she was excited to show me what she caught and was allowed to bring home...

...and there was even a couple of smiles.  Froggy was only allowed to come home under the strict guideline that he would be released back into the wild.  Callie found a nice pool of water in the backyard for froggy to call home and let him go.  She says she's going to catch another one tomorrow... at day camp.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Summer Wishes

We have been settling in nicely into our summer un-routine.  Things are just starting to relax and we are fulfilling many of the wishes on our summer bucket lists.  I said to the girls, "we can do whatever you want today... and we have to get groceries."  Their first wish was to go to the park.  Okie dokie.  Coming right up.  

My baby is getting pretty big for the baby swing.  This almost-four and six year old summer pretty much rocks. Everyone has a little more stamina, reason and logic are showing up more often, and naps were traded in for late nights and morning sleep ins.  Not having to get up and go has always been my most favorite part of summer vacation and now you throw in two girls who have figured out that they don't have to get up at 6:30am, that life still continues on if they sleep till nine...  well that is as near perfection as it gets.  

Wish number two... the library.  The children's section of our public library got a makeover this year. I remember the library manager being quoted saying, "readers are made on the laps of their parents"  as the reason for the investment into the children's area.  And even in this world of iPads, Pods and Phones, my girls still get excited over books and going to the library.  The whole library heard Callie's excitement over finding a Mo Willems piggy book that we hadn't read before.  I kept having to say shhhh.  It's a library.

Their third and final wish before we had to hit the grocery store was to go shopping for "things kids want not what grown-ups want".  And since mom was in a saying yes kinda mood, the girls hauled home a new gigantic frisbee, snorkel, bike horn, bike basket, monkey bar gloves, floaty tubes for the beach and to top it all off... candies from the knob turning vending machines in the lobby of the Bargain Shop!  Both girls thought they hit the summer jackpot.

 It's fun for mom to have saying yes kinda days too.

We also went to the beach this week.  Going to the beach is always on the top of our summer bucket list... weather permitting of course.  On this day we tolerated the wind, occasionally turning our backs to the sand blowing in our faces, making the best of what we got for beach-worthy weather this week.

Callie decided this summer that she is only going to wear a bathing suit if she is in the water.  As soon as she's out of the water the suit comes off.  I hold the towel as a makeshift phone booth as our supergirl does her quick clothing change.  Oh, and I have to mention that she does this change three to four times while we are at the beach.  Yes, reason and logic are showing up more often this summer, just not in the clothing department.  I might as well tell you that she also won't wear a tank top.  Graphic tees only for this sister.

Backyard snacks, story and coloring hour can also be checked off our list.  And what's left on this infamous summer bucket list you ask?  I don't know.  I never actually wrote a list.  I'm just making it up as we go along! Ha.  
What's on your summer bucket list?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Friendship Web

We are two weeks deep into this summer thing and I have written a blog post in my mind for every one of those days.  So much good has been happening.  Soaking it in, being present for all the "this is the life, pass me a beer, staying up late, let's hit the beach, campfire sitting, this summer rocks" moments should be a definite career option.  So where do I  begin?  With the big day of course...

It's been a year since the ring was given but many more years of anticipation to see our friend so happy, to have found the one and to ultimately seal the entire package with a commitment.  And no, that's not a big wedding party...that's just what happens when friendships ties are long, strong and tied tight.

Through the years our friendship ties have stretched and tightened as each of us have followed our life paths. New strings get added and new friends are tied on along the way.  The ties have held strong through the distance that separates, bad relationships, pregnancy tests,  infertility, miscarriages, marital bliss and marital woes, funerals, purple bridesmaid dresses, births and babies, surgeries, tearful phone calls, and texts with sad news. And through all the tears of hard times that we didn't know how to fix and the tears of joy that brought us closer together, we've each had our turn being supported by, being pulled up by, and being swaddled in comfort by the friendship ties.

I am beyond blessed with this friendship rope that I have.  When there is occasion to celebrate or hurting hearts to mend or even a simple greyish day to get through,  a gentle tug of the rope brings out phone calls, texts and visits from my people.

And the sweetest deal of all?  Watching our kids play together, getting to know each other, tying each other on to their own friendship ropes.  Having their ropes weave together with ours into a web so strong that no one could slip through. 

The house is so quiet as friends depart in their cars and on planes back to where their lives have taken them. I have tugged on my friendship rope, calling on friends nearby, to gently ease back into the summer thing after a great week of weaving.


A quick rewind back to the start of summer.

   Beach days...

    At the zoo...

    Canada Day festivities...

    Main Street Days...

Cheers to more summer fun!