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Friday, February 28, 2014

What the world needs now....

Wednesday morning I found myself with a bad case of the vacation re-entry blues.  Kevin was traveling, Emma was sick (poor thing had a fever of 102.5 within 2 hours of getting off of the plane Monday night), I had a long run to do and it was 14 degrees outside, I had about 25 other things that I needed to do and I was feeling like an idiot for ever thinking I could really figure out how to train for a marathon.  I had unfulfilled commitments hanging over me and I was beating myself up for not being able to keep up with anything.   It was taking just about all I had to get breakfast served, lunches packed, and the kids dressed and off to school without weeping into my coffee.

Somehow we dropped Eleanor off on time but half way to Lucy's school my phone rang, it was Eleanor and I'd actually dropped her off an hour was a late start day.   Inside I cried a little bit.   I was meeting my friend Angela at 9:15 and she had a meeting which prevented her from starting any later.  I'd have to cancel.  As I turned the van around to pick Eleanor up I felt like a failure.  Was there nothing I could do right?  As we sat in the van outside of Captain until it was actually time for school I confided in Eleanor and told her something like--- I'm struggling.  I don't want to run today, it's too cold. I feel silly ever thinking I could take on such a big goal.  I just don't think I'll ever get caught up with all the cleaning and the laundry and I have so many commitments that I feel like I need to spend time on.  And Emma's at home alone and I feel awful leaving her alone.  I feel lost.

She just listened and then she smiled at me and told me it was ok. I saw her studying my face and just smiling.  I felt peaceful and so thankful.  Then we talked about school and how she was nervous about a little girl in her class who isn't very nice to her.  She told me she thinks she's getting the hang of counting money and she wondered if maybe she could have a sleepover with her friend Maria soon.

The grace she gave me in that moment was palpable.   Hearing myself complain about all of those tiny things, getting my feelings off my chest, and finding no judgement or worry and just love in the eyes of one of the people I'm most delighted with in the whole world was such a comfort.

And so,
I ran and it was hard and it was cold but I finished.
Emma was fine, she watched Netflix the whole time.
When I picked Eleanor up from school the first thing she said was "Great news mom!  I know money!  I got 100% on my test!"
Slowly I'm getting caught up and  I'm remembering that I never really catch up.
We've started a new after school pick up routine which involves the girls walking to meet me about a block from school.  I realize now that they can handle it.
I'm reminded that I want to get rid of some of the silly commitments I'm tethered to.
And I'm awe struck with the feeling that somehow, against what sometimes seem to be crazy odds, we're raising kids who are strong, and self-reliant and empathetic.  They are just the kind of people this world needs.  And exactly the people this momma needs.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

San Francisco

San Francisco was perfect! Here's a quick recap

Though I was a little nervous about traveling alone with Emma and Eleanor, I shouldn't have been.  They were perfect travelers.  Neither flight was direct, making both Friday and Monday pretty long travel days.  We kept ourselves busy talking, and playing games and watching the flight tracker on the iPad.  And eating.  Anything they were willing to serve us on the plane, we ate.  We ate the snacks we packed and found snacks in the airport.

Blake picked us up at the airport and after a quick stop at his house we went to see The Painted Ladies from the opening credits of Full House.   The weather was incredible, sixties, sunny, absolutely perfect.  The girls and I couldn't stop commenting on how wonderful it was.  

  We loved our hotel.  Blake has a friend who got us a rate equivalent to the rate which would have ordinarily gotten us a room at The EconLodge with a room facing the highway.  Instead we were on the 17th floor and faced the Bay Bridge.  We had access to the Regency Club where the girls spent as much time as possible.  We ate breakfast there, had snacks, played Uno, used their binoculars, their massage chairs and in general made ourselves at home.

Saturday was a full day!  We started by walking around the Embarcadero drinking amazing coffee and gazing at veggies in colors I've not seen in months.  I wanted to buy a suitcase and fill it with produce to bring home.  We spent some time The Exploratorium which is the best kids museum ever.  We visited Ghirardelli and ate lots of ice cream, rode a pedicab,  and the cable cars, watched the sea lions and walked through Chinatown.  By dinner time we were so tired, especially with the time change that we returned to our hotel, ordered room service, put our jammies on and had a Disney Channel marathon.  Vacation perfection.

Feeling confident after our successful plane travel the girls and I took the Muni on our own from our hotel to Blake's on Sunday morning.

We drove to the Muir Woods and went on an amazing hike all the while wondering what we're doing living in Missouri (just kidding) (sort of).

After our hike we hung out at Blake's a bit, had more amazing ice cream at a shop around the corner and returned on the Muni. We ordered room service  and watched Disney Channel again because we were living it up.  

Blake's backyard.  Love.

This picture pretty much sums up how we felt about this trip.  It couldn't have been more fun!



Monday, February 17, 2014

Let it go!

EEK!!  This looks horrible but isn't even half of what we had, I don't have a lens wide enough to capture all of that ugliness

This morning St. Vincent de Paul's came and took away all of the extra stuff I've been collecting over the last month and a half.  It has amounted to a lot.  Books (the first time in 10 years I've gotten rid of any kids books), toys, clothing, small pieces of furniture, sheets, storage boxes that have stored things  we don't need,  and other misc. things.  Whoopee, what a great feeling!

We're having a great day at home today.  The girls played this morning and are watching Frozen on youtube now.    I'd feel badly about that except that I fully intend to buy it once it comes out on DVD.  We thought about going to the LEGO movie but none of us want to leave the house.  We're planning to make granola bars later this afternoon.  Can you even believe how exciting we are?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014


Do you love this song?  We do!  Some seasons of life are happy and that's where we are and this song just fits.  We have our fair share of drama, fights, tears, and frustration but those aren't incompatible with happiness.  These are the days when happiness is a choice.

Some weeks I do a better job of writing down the little things the girls say that make me laugh....

Eleanor- I love peanut butter!!  Do you think it's something you could eat if you were to lose all of your teeth

Emma, while writing a letter to her pen pal in Spain- Mom, tell me 3 things you like to do that I can tell my pen pal.

Me- Reading, with a warm cup of tea in front of a crackling fire.

Emma- Wow!   How about something a little less embarrassing.

Eleanor the morning of my long run- Yesterday I didn't even think of you once while I was at school, but if I do today I'll pray for you because you're gonna need it.

Me to Lucy after she rolled down the window while driving down the road- What's up with the window?

Lucy- It's hot!  And I had some trash to get rid of.

Me- LUCY!!  We don't throw trash out the window.

Lucy- But it was sticky.

Me- Even sticky trash.

Lucy- Oh, the cars might get stuck on the ground in the stickiness.

Happiness is the truth!

Friday, February 7, 2014

If you need me I'll be in front of the Olympics

We made some Russian Tea mix and have been enjoying it in preparation for The Olympics.  I know, not Russian at all but it was the best I could do, I couldn't see borsch going over real well.  I do have a recipe for baked piroshki that I may attempt next week.

I love the Olympics and I'm so excited for them to really begin.  We watched some snowboarding and figure skating last night.   Emma and Eleanor find the commentators negative and over the top in their critique of the athletes.  I'm hoping maybe they'll see how irritating looking for fault in others can be.  I find that to be such a crummy attribute that so many of us seem to pick up over time.  Of course the tv announcers are paid to do this but the rest of, well we can just knock it off,  we don't need to critique everyone on everything (did you hear me Emma and Eleanor?!).  Lucy squealed with laughter as she watched the figure skaters go round and round and round.  Our favorite Lucy quote of the night was when an amazing Canadian skater finished and Lucy said "My Daddy could do that". 
Here's to a wonderful weekend in front of the tv watching as much of the Olympics as I can.  

Lucy's favorite pose right now.  Look at her eyes, one closed and the other focused on her tongue.  She sticks it out as far as she can and then strains to see it.  I blame this on preschool :)!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

This snowy afternoon

Winter just won't let up!  Thankfully everyone is snug as a bug at home this afternoon. Piano, dance and basketball have all been cancelled--whoopee!! We had school today and it did not dismiss early, which I was also thankful for.  Once when I was teaching we had an early dismissal....oh, what a nightmare!!   

Our street is often used by bikers and runners at all times of the year. I smiled today when we saw a man riding his bike down the middle of the street in the snow.  Earlier we saw a man and a woman running down the middle of the street with their dog.  Winter adventurers! 

Lucy and I baked a loaf of bread using a new recipe today.  We used  The River Cottage Family Cookbook, which we received for Christmas.  Fabulous bread!  We made rice pudding from the cookbook a few weeks ago and it was also excellent.  So far this cookbook is a keeper.

Odds on school tomorrow?  I'm thinking we're going.  

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's Winter

Kevin and I have never had a garage to park in.  Never having one = not knowing what we're missing.  I think Janie may in her oldish age be telling us something though.  Like due to the fact that we keep her in the elements she wants to retire to Florida.  

This morning all of the van doors were frozen shut.  Why this morning? 14 degrees is old news around here.   Probably because it's Monday and the A Team never shows up on Monday.  We're more of a C Team on Monday, all of us fumbling around like we aren't quite sure what the heck we're doing.  Today that looked like Lucy in her pajamas with no shoes on,  Eleanor hollering about being late, while I frantically tried to figure out how to get into the van.  When I finally pried my door open, which was a feat all on it's own since I was holding Lucy, her lunchbox, my coffee and keys, I started the van and Lucy's door opened.  No such luck with El's door so she climbed through the front passenger door.  We drove off in a rush.  It took us a moment to realize that the door sensor was going off.  Janie thought one of her doors was open and she was letting us know.  None of the lights on the dash that indicate an open door were illuminated so we drove on to school because we were late!  You don't realize how loud that buzzzzzzzz is until you're trying to drive somewhere with it on.  Lucy shouted "TOO MUCH NOISE!  TOO MUCH NOISE" just adding to the cacophony.  By the time we made it to school Eleanor's door opened, saving her the embarrassment of having to climb into the front seat to get out of the van.  Her door hesitated in closing but it did and we drove away, still with the annoying buzzzzz ringing in our ears.  As we drove down Clayton Road the passenger sliding door began to open a bit and Lucy yelled "DOOOORRR OPPPPENNNN!  and then laughed her head off.  I tried shutting the door with the control on the dash, which worked momentarily but then the door would open itself right back up.  It was a funny ride to Lucy's school but we made it.  After getting Lucy dressed (in the van of course) and dropping her off I decided to take my chances on the door not flying completely open and I began to drive home.  As I sat at a traffic light I tried to clean off my windshield.  The wiper fluid sprayed but my wipers were stuck, so the fluid froze on my windshield, then one of the wiper blades flew off.  I started laughing so hard, I didn't think I could drive safely.  Door open, ice on the windshield, wiper blade flying off.  This was worse than C team!  

I'm happy to report that I made it home, and back out again, and home again and that as of this afternoon all systems are go (except for that missing wiper blade).  Doors are opening, shutting and locking.  Maybe I just need to pamper Janie a little more.  Give her a few minutes to warm up before expecting so much out of her.  Since it looks like for at least the next week we'll be lucky to break 30 degrees I'll have ample opportunities to try!  

Lucy no napper.   It's not so much that she gave up her nap, which she didn't, it's that she was giving up sleeping at night, at least until after 10:00 which is not ok with me.  I go to bed at 9:00.  So we're working on weaning her off of the nap. What a fine balance.  We have to put her to bed by 7:30, to protect this delicate balance between being tired and over tired.  Of course there's always a day or two when she falls asleep in the afternoon.  A work in progress....such is life.