Friday, March 21, 2014

I Just Do What I Do

The saying goes that being a parent is the hardest job there is.  And I get that but sometimes I think being a teacher has to be tied for first place on the hard jobs list or at least get an honorable mention or something. Teachers get to spend a lot of time with our children.  Our pride and joys.  The same kids that make us laugh, snuggle us, jump all over the living room furniture, interrupt us when we're on the phone, tell us stories, make messes, crawl into our beds at night...the exact same kids that we love to the moon and back and would do anything for...they spend most of their day with a teacher.  And since the teacher didn't have to birth my child and therefore be obligated to love her by default, I know that the jumping around and the interrupting and the story after endless storytelling is not quite so precious.

Callie got an award at school this week for Citizen Improvement.  I asked her if she knew why she got the certificate.  She replied, "I have no idea, mom".  I stumbled over trying to explain the award business to her. I wanted her to know that I was proud of her accomplishment, but of course I don't want her to think I'm not proud of her if she doesn't get an award at school.  I wanted to tell her that she got it for working hard at school, being a good listener, being helpful and kind but I had to correct that somehow because I didn't want her to think that she isn't all those things if she didn't get the award.  I think I said something like, "if you don't get an award it doesn't mean you're not a hard worker, it just means that you didn't get picked this time." "But why did I get picked, mom"?   So I told her she got picked because her teachers think that she's a good student.  

"I didn't know my teachers thought I was a good student, mom, I just do what I do."

She proudly hung her ribbon next to her medal she received last year and continued about, doing what she, tell stories, jump around, make messes.  You know, the things that only a mother (and teachers) can love.  

It won't be long before Lexi will be at school meeting her teacher and telling her stories.  Telling about having strawberry-banana smoothies at our favorite coffee shop and about how she loves hot chocolate and marshmallows and all things sweet.   

But before we even start thinking about sending Lexi off to Kindergarten, we've got a bit of snow to melt, some spring to be had, and a long awaited summer to experience.  And then there will be even more stories to tell.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Night

Tonight, when I drove home from my workout at the gym, the sun was shining so bright I had to flip the shade down in the truck to shield my eyes. Thanks to the time change last weekend, we are slowly beginning to emerge from what I like to call "the dark days".  The temperature was a balmy -15 and I could almost smell a steak cooking on the barbeque and I had a vision of cold beverages being sipped on the deck. That's basically the only way to get through long, cold, dark need to look forward.  And if you have nothing to look forward to then you better make something up, quick!

I feel like painting things in our house...walls, furniture, whatever.  I want to paint in every bright, cheerful color imaginable.  But when I look around, I have no idea where to start, what colors to pick or what to do. And then I think about the mess and how helpful the girls would be.  And then I get overwhelmed so I sit down and watch home shows instead.  This weekend I'll settle for getting the outdoor Christmas lights unplugged (yes, not only are they still up but they're still turned on!) and maybe we'll get the furniture put back that we moved for the Smurfday party.  

So, what are we going to look forward to this weekend?  A whole bunch of life's little things.  Some more time outside, possibly.  Maybe a coffee at our favorite shop.  A movie and some snuggles?  

We'll have to see what comes our way.  Happy Friday Night!  What are you looking forward too? 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Two Thumbs Up

I asked everyone what their favorite Disney moments were so that I could write them down so we don't forget.  Callie looked at me with with a tight lipped grin and wide eyes.  "What I remember most mom was the Tower of Terror!"  Let me explain how the Tower of Terror came to be.  We had walked past the ride one day and thought it looked interesting.  None of us really knew what it was all about so we just kept walking.  You know those people who have all the rides researched and a printed spreadsheet of their daily activities?  Ya, that's not us.  We're more of the go with the flow Disneylanders.

The next day we saw the ride again and thought we had better check it out.  The wait wasn't that long and Lexi met the 40 inch requirement to ride so away we went.  Part way through the wait, Callie got spooked by "abandoned hotel look" and changed her mind.  Jon and her left the line only to come back a few minutes later.  Callie had changed her mind.  We continued to wait our turn and Callie's anxiety was going up.  Lexi, on the other hand, was jumping around like she was waiting in line for ice cream.  My famous last words were, "They wouldn't let a 40 inch tall 4 year olds on this ride if it was really that scary."

We all got buckled in our seat inside the elevator of the abandoned hotel.  The elevator started going up. When the elevator got to the top floor the doors opened and we had the most amazing view of Disneyland. Then the doors shut and we DROPPED 13 STORIES!  Then the elevator went back up and we DROPPED AGAIN! AND AGAIN!

By the end of it the girls were crying, I was laughing, and I'm sure everyone was looking at us wondering why we would take our small children on such a scary ride.  Lesson of the day, don't let the height guide be the only deciding factor.  But I tell you, Callie can't stop talking about it!

More favorite Disney moments. Small moments that make me smile when I think of them.       
In no particular order...
  • two little strollers that saved time and conserved kid energy and the fun racing them through Downtown Disney to the Build a Bear Store.
  • we won the Disney line up jackpot.  a 30 min wait for Mr. Toad's Wild ride, Ok we'll wait.  a Disney worker approached us and asked "do you want to wait 30 minutes or 1 second?" he took us right to the front of the line!
  • watching Lexi hug and kiss and cuddle and touch everyone of the characters that we met.  she just loved them.

  • the new Cars Land rides that weren't here two years ago.  racing in Lightening McQueen was worth the long, long wait...twice!  
  • laughing at ourselves for figuring out the fast pass system on our last day.  
  • Callie's excited voice,"let's go Soaring over California again!"

  • churros.  need I say more.  Disney has the best churros.  I imagine I'm eating one when I sprinkle cinnamon on my oatmeal in the morning.  
  • trying to remember to tell Callie to push her socks down every time I took a picture.  she asked why.  I told her so that in ten years when she looks back at the pictures she doesn't ask me why I let her where her socks like that!  

  • Lexi's love of hot dogs. since she fell asleep two nights in a row before her supper arrived, she decided to have hot dogs for breakfast instead.  
  • the 10 cookies I took from the Goofy's Kitchen buffet because I knew they would come in handy in a line up somewhere.  unfortunately the bag wasn't big enough to carry buns or hot dogs.

  • getting our picture with Buzz Lightyear again.  same place, just add two years, two more confident girls and a bottle of hair dye for mom!  Buzz doesn't sign autographs.  not sure why. Lexi tried pushing all the buttons on his costume.  they don't make any sounds.
  • loved that my husband was as clean shaven as Buzz after a long and hairy six months!
  • being in Disney with Nana and Papa.  because they are fun to make memories with.  and because they wait in line for the super cool Toy Story Mania 4D ride while we ate Mickey shaped icecream and got a picture with Woody.
  • Callie's laughter when her Papa calls Woody, "Howdy Doody" or when he mixes up the names of the characters.

  • seeing their personalities shine through in choice of face painting.  Callie's was called "the villain"  and Lexi's was a "butterfly princess".
  • convincing Lexi that Disney is way more fun than the hotel pool as she asked repeatedly if it was time to go swimming.
  • our late night visits to the pool and hot tub.  it's never too late or too cool for Canadian kids in California.

  • warm, golden Starbucks coffee while we wait for the parade.
  • pre-parade souvenir shopping.  Mickey shirts, Mickey ears, cozy blankie, Christmas ornament, picture frames, and coffee mugs-to always remind me how yummy that Starbucks tasted on that cool parade evening.
  • Callie's excitement that we finally saw Mickey in the parade and that she recognized mom's favorite-Mary Poppins.
  • Nana teaching the girls about cheap and tacky things.  Although they thought the light up swords rocked!

  • that we didn't wait until the last day to realize the headboard in our room had fireworks.  we left them on all the time.
  • that we found the secret elevator in our hotel
  • that we cheered on our Olympic athletes at the end of each busy day.

  • the girls thought riding in the golf cart was just as much fun as anything at Disneyland.
  • feeding the ducks and chasing the turtles in Palm Springs.
  • Lego movie in a near empty theatre.  
  • Swimming in the pool, warm rays of sunshine on our faces, knowing that we are fortunate to be making these memories and being grateful for every last minute of time together.

Our adventure definitely deserved two thumbs up even though Lexi said, "but mom, we didn't see Daisy".
Hmmm... Maybe next time....

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When Elephants Fly

 When we got home from our trip, Callie did a little presentation to her class at school about her holiday.  I sat off to the side of the classroom and watched her shine with joy and enthusiasm as she talked about the pictures she showed and answered questions from her classmates.  She worked hard trying to explain all the rides, all the things she did, all the things she saw but some things are difficult to explain.  The magic of Disney isn't easy to put into words.  Even the most talented of writers would struggle to accurately describe the feelings of awe and the meticulous details that are experienced.

Instead of trying to describe it, maybe we should just count number of smiles in the pictures.

Of course, these are just a few of the photos. I will never tire of seeing my girls so happy.  So excited to see and do everything that you have to reign them in.  Such anticipation for what's next that they must be forced to sit and eat lunch to keep their energy levels up and the grouchies away.  Even though we've been here before, there were new things to see, details that we missed, and new experiences to be had.  Two years can feel like a blink of the eye to an adult but it is eons in the life of a child.  Last time we had two girls hiding their heads in our shoulders when it was time to meet Mickey Mouse.  This time we have autograph books full of signatures and photos of the girls with as many characters we could meet.  Last time Callie loved the Pirates of the Carribean.  This time she got scared and only rode it once.  Last time Lexi didn't meet the 40 inches necessary for some of the rides.  This time she Soared over California with the rest of us.
Exact same place, just new perspectives.
More smiles to come...

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Berry Farm

You know when you have a really amazing vacation and then you get back home and it all feels like a dream and you wonder if it really happened?  Like, were we really just outside in shorts and flip flops?  I'm sure glad I took lots of pictures to remind myself that it really did happen because now we're back home with minus forty windchills and a lot of grumbly people.  

So I'm going to roll out our holiday photos in several posts to spare everyone from the alternative, a zillion posts that complain about the cold!  And because I took lots of photos and I don't want to forget a minute of our memory making holiday.

We had told the girls that we were going to visit their Nana and Papa but we didn't mention that Disneyland was just a short drive from their place.  Those Valentine's Day cards had some very exciting news.  Callie was pumped because she could remember from two years ago but I don't think Lexi knew quite what to expect.  

Before we got to the land of Mickey Mouse we had a little drive to take.  It's refreshing to see new landscapes.  So different from what we're used to...mountains, desert, palm trees.  And we can't forget the blue skies that bring warmth and sunshine.  On the drive we found Knott's Berry Farm.  Jon remembered going there when he was a kid so we thought we would check it out.  

There weren't any Berry Farms that we could see.  Just huge thrill rides.  Mostly too big and too scary for all the members of our group!  We followed a map and did laps around the park attempting to find a spot where a seven and four year old would have some fun.  Callie spotted face painting and jumped up and down.

We found Camp Snoopy and saw a ride that looked like it was perfect and the line appeared to be short. Of course appearances are deceiving and we all exercised our patience while waiting to get on Snoopy's Gr8 Sk8 Board.  

It was definitely fun while it lasted!  And the girls loved it.  Which is really all that mattered because why else were we there?  But we did find a log ride that the whole family thoroughly enjoyed, twice.  And yes we bought the picture at the end of the ride because it's so fun to look at and because we needed a souvenir since we are not likely to return to this park.

Knott's Berry Farm was a good start to our week.  Even though it's not a farm and I never saw any berries. Smiles were made, patience was grown, and lessons were learned.  Not enough rides here for our little troopers but we knew where we could find some.  Next stop. Disneyland!