Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Do you believe in fairies?

"Having adventures comes naturally to some people.  You just have a gift for them or you haven't."
                                                                                   - Anne (Anne of Avonlea)

I can't sit still.  I am finding myself wandering aimlessly around the house.  The girls just went down for a rest, so you would think that I would have a long list of "needs" and "wants" just waiting to be accomplished...but I don't.  Ok, that is not exactly true.  The dishes need doing, the laundry is over-flowing and I have a good book that is asking to be finished...but I am so restless that even the thought of sitting, or doing anything at all monotonous makes me shudder. 

Perhaps it has something to do with the weather.  I love being outside and since it has been over 100 everyday for at least the past week I feel a bit trapped.  Wasps have taken over my backyard so I look out upon it with fear at the moment since nether myself nor my children have ever been stung, just chased a few times.  And I would like to keep it that way.  I can't say I need a vacation because I just had one last week, this is only day two of "back to work."  I shouldn't be this restless already right? 

I need a very large open grassy field.  Oh, and it needs to be windy, a cold wind with hot sun.  I need a pair of good shoes and nothing in my hands.  I want to run and run until I am so winded I have to stop.  Then I want to lay back and watch the sky for a while as I catch my breath.  Then I plan on spinning until I am dizzy and laughing uncontrollably for as long as I jolly well please.  Once I have finished laughing I want to walk slowly back, savoring every moment.  Noticing every bird, taking in every scent and perhaps chasing a butterfly or two.  No wasps.  Is all that so much to ask?  You know where I want to be?  My childhood backyard.  Want to see it?

Descanso Gardens, located in La Cañada Flintridge, Los Angeles County, California, is a 150 acres (61 ha) botanical garden..  According to Wikipedia.

This spot is called "the spitting fish" though I doubt the photographer knew it.  Don't you love how Google is so generous in helping out when I have small whims like showing you my old backyard?

Here is another:

At one time in my life I could just about name every rock and tree in that garden.  It was my sanctuary, my mountain top, my playground and my own little adventure all rolled into one.  

See?  Grass!  And that grass was so perfect for running.  Especially if you knew your way around and could dart into the small little footpath on the side within the trees (that only you knew existed) at a moments notice.  So to the untrained eye you had disappeared completely- who knows where you would come out next? 

I remember so many times going there and being in low spirits.  But somehow, when walking in that beauty, it goes away and you realize just how blessed you are.  The garden was not overly popular, so there were rarely lots of people.  Which is good, because I took it personally when people were in MY space.  My favorite was to walk by the Forrest, up through the dessert on the far side of the lake where the manzanita trees grow.  There, if you were lucky, you could find deer, baby ducks and all sorts of lizards.  I even saw a coyote there once.  Then we would cut back through the bee house and across the troll bridge.  Walking by the Japanese garden and onto the field (shown above).  Or, in through the ferns where the fairies lived.  They do live there, I know it, I am pretty sure I have seen them. 

It makes me a little sad to look at those pictures.  I am not sure why - the garden is still there.  Though as much as I want to take my kids there  I think I am a little afraid it will look different to me.  I will see the chain-link fence under the ivy, notice the sprinkler heads and actually follow the "closed to the public" signs.  I never did before, I wasn't "the public" after all.  It was MY garden!  I am the public now.

While we were on vacation my wonderful, amazing husband wanted me to climb some rocks with him.  Now, I have always prided myself on being good at that sort of thing.  I am not afraid to get dirty or bruised.  I may be a klutz but I have never ever fallen while climbing trees or rocks.  Not once.  But it has been many years, at least 5, since I have climbed rocks.  Now, to put this into perspective...these were the rocks:

That is my brother and his fiance.  I didn't go up that particular face, but the one we did was basically comparable - though a little more jagged so more hand holds.  What you can't see is the ocean and very sharp rocks many many feet below.  This is not a "be careful or you might get hurt" This is a "you fall, you die" situation.  Now, it could possibly be argued that the fact that I would climb those, with no training and no thought was a bad idea in the first place.  My brother in the picture above has training.  But you see, bad idea or not - I always loved it.  It gave me a thrill and a sense of adventure. 

Well this time, wonderful as he is...my husband did not warn me exactly how hard this was...and it was not really THAT hard.  I am in good shape. But the whole "fall = die" thing all of a sudden was making me shaky an causing me to doubt what I could and could not do.  It might have been that as I looked down I would see the happy forms of my babies far below...or perhaps I have just gotten boring and weak in my old age.  But it had been too long, I didn't know 100% for sure what my body was capable of, I couldn't tell, just by testing, whether or not a rock would hold my weight. This scared me.  But by the time I realized what I had gotten myself into it was too late to go back.

I made it.  I didn't die (thankfully!) nor did my husband.  But I had to reach hard for my thrill and barely scraped my sense of adventure.  I felt accomplished once I was on the ground again...but I don't think it was based so much on having mastered the rocks.  I was just happy to be alive!

I think this fear has added to my restlessness.  Have I truly lost my sense of adventure?  Have I become "one of them?"  It can't be!  I wont let it!  but then...what can I do about it?  I am a practical person, I always have been.  So while I enjoy adventure, I won't purposely put myself in harms way just for a cheap thrill.  So am I doomed to live a quiet, peaceful life never wondering "what-if?"  I'm not sure I can stand that!

No...I think I just need to get more creative.  After all, the best adventures are the ones that find you when you weren't even looking for them.  Perhaps I need to 'not look' a little harder.  But in the meantime.  There is laundry to be folded and dishes to be washed.  The living room needs vacuuming and the garden could use some water.  Oooh, perhaps if I look very closely I shall see a fairy out in my garden.  I have pumpkins out there, so there must be fairies.    Ah - that reminds me.  Hold on, I have to find it....

"You make me believe in fairies, whether I will or no, and that means youth.  As long as you believe in fairies, you can't grow old."                                       - Dean Prist (Emily Climbs)

Ah yes, thank you.  I needed that.  Tonight, or perhaps tomorrow I shall take the girls into the yard just as it is getting dark and we will search for fairies.  Who knows, perhaps we will even get to almost see one. And like Colin says when he first peaked into his very own secret garden:  Together, in this garden.We shall live forever and ever and ever!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Of dirt and trees and fairy wings!

"I hope you're a noisy boy. I love noisy children.
It makes it so much easier to tell where they are
and what they're up to."            - Doshy: Song of the South 

We watched 'Song of the South' last night and this quote made me laugh out loud!  How sad most people have such a different attitude.  I don't want to be one of those people.  Kids simply bubble with noise, and while "inside voices" are good things to learn- how wonderful is it to a kid when they are allowed to be as noisy as they were meant to be!    For a moment in time they can break free from the restraints that civilized society has forced upon them and just be kids.  That, I believe is one of the purposes of camping.  That and getting as dirty as you want to and not having to worry about it - or even think twice about it!

I had another post in mind last night, but these pictures have sat on the camera for too long so I felt it was high time they were shared with the world!  I shall write a real post sometime later this week.

So here you are - midsummer 2010!

Ready to go!
A little sleepy, we left at about 6am.  But she was so excited!  The ride there was an adventure in and of itself.  We went the scenic route so there was much to see and not many places to stop.  Both girls got a little carsick on the twisting roads - for Taylor we were able to stop first...with Ayla we weren't so lucky.  So we got to clean a car seat on the side of the road about 30 miles away from where we were going.  Not my favorite pass-time. 
The was our view as we drove up the mountain.  Taylor said it looked like magic.  Daddy said that maybe a dragon lived down there.  She got a little concerned when I said I wanted a dragon for a pet.  "You can only have a nice dragon mama ok?" I reluctantly agreed.  But what is the fun in having a nice dragon!?!

So excited! The campsites were lined with poison oak.  And within an hour Ayla had dashed right into it.  So it was barely noon and she was already on her third set of clothes for the day...sigh...that child!

I soon gave up on keeping faces clean.  We were camping after all!
Sooo happy and excited to be there!  Cousins to play with, dirt, trees to climb, dirt, rocks to jump off of, dirt, streams to play in and even more dirt!  Every child's dream.

Taylor, Ayla and Maddie.  Three peas in a pod.

I am pretty sure that barrette will never be seen again.
Taylor took it all in like a sponge.  The people, the scenery.  She is an outdoor girl.  However, she did not like the fact that she kept falling down into the dirt.  She fell in the exact same place three times.  Poor girl got more frustrated every time!
Granny gave fairy wings and flower garlands to each of the girls.  They loved being fairy princesses together!

I think Maddie might have been eying the swords the boys got here.  She ended up being a fairy warrior. And a very vicious one at that!
I have lots more pictures.  Perhaps I will post them all on facebook.  But for now I will be selfish and stick to the ones that have my children in them. 

We also had time at the beach with the lovely sand dunes I remember so fondly from my childhood.  Of course I had to run down them with my kids.  So much fun still!  Of course many songs were sung and campfires were enjoyed.   All in all in was a lovely time.  Funny how some people you can see perhaps once or twice a year...or once or twice every few years...and still feel just as connected as if you were never apart.  These are real friends.  I am overcome with joy to think of sharing such friendships with my children.  They had such a blast playing with their cousins, and who wouldn't! 

Though I did miss one thing.  One very important thing.  Tell me, did I just miss it by chance or did we dare to have an entire midsummer vacation without a pound and a half (or more!) of fudge?!?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Midsummer - a family vacation!

The car is loaded up...
The house is locked and the windows are shut...
The kids are in the backseat - we're ready to go!

Ok - not exactly.  But almost!  So far I have packed the "kitchen" and the girl's toy bags.  We have set up the tent to make sure it is still sound, gotten out the sleeping bags and made lists.  Annnddd...that is all.  We leave tomorrow and with church and Ryan's birthday lunch and dessert I will have no chance to get anything else done until 3ish this afternoon.  Is that enough time?  We had a midsummer present planned.  But it is looking like it will have to wait until next year.  Taylor got sick late this last week and that threw a wrench in getting things done ahead of time.  That and financially we are pretty stretched and I want to make the smart decision.  Next year.  Of course, it could be argued that I should be taking advantage of the time right now and packing instead of writing on here.  But I will admit - I have not had much motivation.  That is another reason I am so behind.  I have had SUCH trouble getting to the point of actually packing things up.  Not sure if it is because of being tired or if it is that I am not really sure where to start. 

So on the agenda today?  Well, it is Ryan's sleep in day. So the girls are watching a Blue's Clues while I write.  Then I will get them popped into the bath and dressed for church.  Church starts at 10:45 but I think that I may have patio church today.  For those of you who don't know: Patio church means a group of people who love one another sits outside in the scorching heat (or inside where there is food and ac) and have "church" together.  Sometimes we listen to the pastor and talk about the sermon as we listen.  Sometimes we sit silently together drinking coffee and worshiping softly along with the music - and often we talk to one another about life.  I try to limit patio church to once a month so that I do not get in the habit of missing out on sitting in church.  Funny - some Sunday's I just know we need to be outside and almost always either someone has something they need to share or there is someone new that is blessed by a church and a group of people that don''t fit into any known "church" box.  I love it.

After church it is to my in-laws house.  We usually go to their house for lunch on Sunday's.  I love not having to cook right after church!  Ryan's birthday is on Thursday of this week so we are celebrating that today.  Then - it will be a flurry of packing and getting ready!  I am trying to decide if we should have a rest time today.  See, I might get more done if the girls rest.  But since we rarely get back until almost 3 they will sleep until 5 and then not want to go to bed until at least 9.  We have to get up at 4am in order to leave when we want to.  So should I have them sleep in the afternoon? Or should we skip a nap and go down for bed at 7:30ish hoping for more real sleep before our early morning?

Oh I just got a glimmer of excitement!    I feel as if I have not had a chance to be excited yet.  But I should be!  Amazingly everyone will be there this year.  TRULY amazing since there are 31 of us now.  Up from the 7 kids and 6 adults as it was when I was Taylor's age.  4 camp-sites this year to house us all.  We will go hiking, eat food together.  Rest and relax, play games, sing songs - oh so many midsummer songs!  They are fun, I promise!  Talk about memories and make new ones.  Sadly we can only stay for a few days - but I am hoping that is enough.  I get to see friends I have not seen in years, some who have never even met my babies.  I also get to see a new baby (my nephew) that I have not yet met myself.  Yay!

Well, my husband is up.  I should think of something for breakfast and get kids ready to go.  Say a prayer for our safety - that one adventurous little one doesn't feel the need to escape and explore.  That the car rides go quickly and are un-eventuful.  That we will have an amazing time with our beloved friends and create memories that will last forever.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

ER adventures

Wait.....first I need coffee...and I need to pee.

Ok, ready....no, wait...Now kids want ice water...hold on!

Ah!!!! I spilled my coffee all over my desk as I got up to get kids water! NOT my day (though it may have been funny to watch - after we knew everything was ok)luckily Ryan's camera was on the other side of the desk and so narrowly escaped baptism by morning coffee. And now, of course it has been too long and what is left of my coffee needs warming up again. Luckily there was a bit more in the pot.

Goodness this post is taking a long time to start! At this rate I am going to run out of 'Jojo's Circus' before I have even started.

Ok - I think THINK I am good now...now what was I going to write?

Ah yes, I was going to tell you all about our adventure last night. The night started out simple enough. I had a few friends coming over so we did baths early to make sure kids would be done and ready for bed soon. Ayla had just gotten out of the bath and was running around the house naked as I watched her sister in the shower (showers are new things around here, and one 4 year old is still learning the ins and outs of washing her own hair and avoiding getting soap in her eyes). I should have known to be checking on Ayla more then every 1-3 minutes...but I am always foolishly holding onto hope that someday she will be able to be trusted for at least that long out of sight of a grown-up. Sadly I was wrong! I heard a crash in the living room and ran as fast as I could to discover what and who was damaged. It took me a moment to find her, she was in the silent breath section of crying. (This is how I know my kids have really been hurt/scared. There is a cry, then silence for about 10 seconds as all the air is being let out - then a huge breath followed by a scream that could make any soap star shudder.) When I first found her she looked ok. I asked where she was hurt and she said "hurt, head!" I felt for a bump and at first didn't find one. I was just about to get her an icepack when she turned around and I saw she had blood running down her back. Not a fun sight for a mom! I found the cut, too big to heal well on it's own; gaping open about 1/8 of an inch. I yelled for Ryan, told Taylor she needed to rinse and get out of the shower NOW. We got blood cleaned up, pressure on the head and a night dress on right as Auntie walked in the door. She had come to hang out, little did she know we had another job in store! It was perfect timing, she was able to watch Taylor for us while we buckled Ayla into the car and headed out. The walk-in clinic had just closed 15 minutes earlier so we had to go to the ER.

Along the way, of course we tried to use this as a teaching moment. Explaining as best we could to our 2 year old that THIS is why she needs to obey mom and dad. We ask her not to go on that stool because it is not safe and she can fall and hurt herself. We had to laugh at her response: "Two minutes mama? Head feel better. No doctor. 2 minutes mama?" The poor girl was asking to be put into a time-out. She didn't want to see the doctor!

I would have to say it was about the least stressed ER I have ever been in. We were lucky! Only one other person was in the room ahead of us and there were nice, kind and polite staff. We only had to wait about 20 minutes and they had us in, evaluated and in a bed. They were much impressed by Ayla's battle wound. We explained that as far as we could tell, she had climbed a stool, the one that is used for the computer desk. She had fallen backwards off it and hit her head on the edge of the subwoofer that is behind the couch. She needed 5 staples to close it up. Daddy got to hold her while they did it and mom got to hold her after. I like my job better then his! She did just fine, she got all female doctors and nurses - all of which were really good with kids which felt like a blessing. She has a pretty big case of doctor anxiety which started when she had swine flu and pneumonia last year. But she did good!

Warm milk when she got home and lots of hugs and kisses and it was bedtime. She slept great - and this morning she is bouncing off the walls! I am having a hard time keeping her down. I just want these stitches to come out before we need to have anymore!

I am interested now to watch and see if she stays off the stool. I am praying very hard this child can begin to learn life lessons with the little hurts. My mom always made it very clear that one of the prayers she prayed over her children daily was "Lord, let my kids get hurt just enough so they are not stupid, and let them always get caught the first time they do something they shouldn't be doing." It is a hard prayer, but a good one. Thank you God for teaching my kids in the little things. Help their hearts to be open to the lesson and please, help us not to have another lesson for at least a little while. I could really use a break!