Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Ice Skater

What's a more fun way to stay cool on hot summer days?

This is her "I'm happy" face. Her tween helper is so nice!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mama and Papa don't get out much, but when we do, watch out people!

My birthday week is officially over, and it's been super duper. My birthday was on Wednesday, which was not the most fun, since Mr. James had that fever and rash and all, but he was on the recovery by Thursday when we dropped him and his sister off at one grandma's house, while we met the other grandma and grandpa for dinner at PF Changs. Dinner is so relaxing when no one is smacking your chest to nurse, or needing pieces of chicken to get cut. After dinner we picked the kids back up and went to my parents for chocolatey chocolate cake. And I got a camera!!! A very cool little camera that takes very nice pictures right when you want it to take them, and my picture taking frustration has ended. It's so small that it's easy for me to take with me everywhere, which means more pictures! Yay! Thanks to my generous family!

Friday night I was able to get some coffee with no children (again!) while dear Jason put the kids to bed. I met some girlfriends at this coffee house we'd never been to before in a sleepy town, and as soon as I got there the shop closed! We walked around for awhile hoping for a Starbucks or anything like it, but we ended up at a cute little bakery instead. It was so nice to yakkety yak, and my friend brought her little newborn who was so sweet and cozy in her mama's sling. I was sort of anxious to get home though because I was worried how bedtime went with out me to over see it, but of course it went without any problems, and it was comforting to know it could be done with out me. Coming home to kids already in bed is equal to coming home to a house that little fairies have magically cleaned while you were gone.

The very next morning we got up early, packed up the beach bags and fishing poles to go surf fishing. Jason's dad lives by the beach so he went with us too. It was so beautiful and warm even at 8:30 in the morning. The kids had a great time trying to catch sand crabs and then watching them bury themselves in the bucket. No fish were caught but sand cakes were made and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We got out of there before the crowds infiltrated and had some lunch at grandpas.

And then on Sunday evening Jason and I had tickets to see Chris Isaak at the OC Fair. His dad gave us the tickets for my birthday and thanks to a babysitting godmother and a good friend, we left the kids in good hands. While we aren't gigantic Chris Isaak fans, we have a couple of his cds and find him enjoyable and relaxing to listen too. We had heard he wasn't great live, but thought he put on a pretty good show. That's us at the concert.
And this little lady opened for him - that's Vanessa Carlton. Girl, where have you been? You just try to listen to that song and not sing along. She was a treat. It was just her on piano and her guitarist. I cracked up just a little bit when she was singing her last song, stopped in the middle of it, said, "F! That's not how it goes!" and had forgotten her own lyrics. Whoops. He he he.
We had really good seats too. Jason got this picture. He learned the new camera zoomed in a lot further than I thought. Nice suit, Mr. Isaak.
We had a smashing good time. And the kids did great too. Hannah woke me up promptly at 6 am to tell me all about her fun evening of practising ice skating and watching funny videos "that was almost ovew, but then we watched a house show about a boy bown with no eyes."

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Lost Gospel of Mary

I'm finishing up this quick and easy book. It's nice to get the whole Tradition (I've heard in bits and pieces, mostly) of what the Orthodox Church aka "the early church" teaches on her life, and even her parent's life. Us Orthodox folk are crazy for Mary, and this book explains well why. I can't help but feel that Christians who all but ignore her are really missing out on her speedy intercessions and motherly comfort. The popular author puts it well, that she always points us to God. In our Churches she is the front and center icon, holding her Son, Our Lord, as our hope. She looks intently at us, as if saying, "Here He is...Our Salvation." The author addresses many of the Protestant concerns with the veneration of the Virgin Mary, as well as the differences in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic beliefs in Our Lady's regard. A beautiful read!

Stuck at home.

James is sick. Fever. Most likely Roseola. Thanks, Jamie for the diagnosis. We're on day three of Mr. Fever. Tomorrow I expect Mr. Fever to go home and we will welcome Mrs. Rash. Poor James pointed to the Tylenol this morning. He goes through happy spurts though so it's not all misery around here.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

This is not a rant.

It's the beginning of July and summer is here full-force. But of course, where we dwell, summer is practically half of the year. We've been busy with trips to the park, the library, and life. Our garden is still flourishing, at least it is for us novice gardeners. We get so excited. Like, I planted something. Then I watered it. And it...It GREW!!!!! One of our tomato plants looks to be at it's peak, and is producing ruby red, very average tomato-sized tomatoes, bursting with flavor. And they lack salmonella, which is a major plus for us.

One of our usual parks we go to has a nice sized wading pool the kids can traipse around in and splash each other. I sit in the shade and gab with the other moms. The other day, I actually found myself in the midst of a debate in our little Yahoo group. And I pretty much learned the hard way that it is impossible to talk with other mothers and disagree about parenting styles/philosophies regarding discipline with out it getting all emotional. From now on, I'm keeping my mouth shut, or at least stopping my fingers from typing down my inflammatory opinions.

One good thing out of the whole argument was that I, and I suspect the other mom who I really do adore, found ourselves rather confident in our parenting choices. While I'm certainly no parenting expert, I am the expert on my own children and I think we're all doing just fine. When I have certain way with my children, a rule, or a lack of a rule, I challenge myself with the goofy Dr. Phil question. "So, how's that working for ya?" If it's not, I change it. And lately what has been needed for our family is order and structure. Too much down time and going with the flow has not been working for us whatsoever. But this structure and scheduling tugs at the fibers of the famous attachment parenting philosophy, and ruffles feathers of those who frown upon conventional time-outs and punitive parenting styles. But why should I stick to something if it is so not working for us? Just to keep a label on myself so I know which moms are safe to be around and talk to? Ah. So for now, I'm the happy mom who cloth diapers, enforces bedtime at 8, nurses her toddler, doesn't tolerate backtalk and will send you to your room for it. If you disagree with any of this or act differently, I'd still be happy to grab a coffee and let our kids play together at the park.

Here are my kiddos going to pick up and haul a scooter to the imaginary mechanic. Teamwork. (This is a scene from our daily morning "playtime in jammies" ritual as mom waters the garden and picks up the dog poop.)