Monday, July 6, 2015

Why so quiet?

Lured by the beauty and simplicity of Wordpress (though still too cheap to purchase a url), you'll now find me here.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Introducing Simple Joy Sundays

Later I'll go more into the convoluted reasons this blog has been so sporadic. For now, I'm following through on my new hope for 2015: regular postings.

Enter: Simple Joy Sundays.

Watch each Sunday for a brief post about one of the little moments worth capturing. After all, that's the only aim of this particular nook on the web. To pull down a few golden moments as they race through the ether and pin their wings to the cork board for future appreciation.

We've had a blissful New Year. Beginning Tuesday with our tearful reunion after a bittersweet send off for my Mimi and continuing through the turn of 2015 and the wonderful bonus holiday weekend, we've had six days of joyful connections.

But I can't (or won't) try to log them.

Instead, envision the command center of my kitchen. The quiet was only interrupted by the wheezing of my over-worked coffee pot. The kids played down stairs as I whipped up my favorite granola pancakes to fortify my bruised and worn out girls (they skied for the first time yesterday, an hours-long adventure that thrilled and exhausted them).

Suddenly the door from the basement banged open, followed by a burst of enthusiastic conversation. Max, Maya (and her two dolls), and Elliot (carrying her three dolls) crowded around me, handing me small, handmade tickets for a trip to the zoo.

"Hey mom, can you do that thing where you turn your computer into a zoo for us?" Elliot made the request. With her big, lash-heavy eyes and her missing front tooth, she has mastered the art of making sweet requests, even when she omits the "please."

We played this zoo game several times last winter, when the blizzards kept us in, and our longing for quick trips to Como Zoo made us homesick for the city. We fired up the old Dell and took a virtual tour to any zoo with a live animal cam.

But last winter, our virtual zoo tours were completely orchestrated by yours truly.

Today, the kids made the event their own!

It's remarkably easy to virtually visit the zoo. First, pull up the San Diego Zoo live cams (but this morning the creatures were all asleep... too early on the West coast I suppose). Then, visit the web cams at the National Zoo (pandas!). Then it's off to the Monterrey Bay aquarium (we could watch their shark tank all day). Finally, a tour via YouTube of the Miami and Houston zoos, complete with educational narration.

So there I was, with the orangutans and the tapirs, and "nine" kids on a field trip while I flipped pancakes (and we all sampled some). Every time we switched to a different animal, the kids would parade around the house as if they were walking to the next exhibit. The girls would share their vast animal knowledge with their dolls, making up details when they weren't quite sure of them (just like their mother, at the zoo!)

It was a perfect, simply joyful moment.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

7 Blog Posts I Should have Written in October

When my little Elliot was just turning one, I finally gave myself permission to write. Daily. With unselfconscious enthusiasm. I started this blog (or it's predecessor - Growing!). I worked my way through The Artists Way and launched into morning pages with a gusto that hasn't faded even eight years later. I've completed NANOWRIO all but one years since 2009 (that's 4 hastily written novel drafts, folks!).

I still have drafts of my first short stories from kindergarten. I lovingly store chapters of crazy stories  hand written in tree houses. I've never published a thing, it seems likely I never will. The important thing is, I love to write. I do  write. Daily. With spirit.

At the moment, I'm working on a children's novel as a gift to my little ones at Christmas. This is my tricky way of forcing myself to complete the project rather than stick it in the waiting place with all of the other projects eclipsed by a newer, more exciting idea. Editing, this is the next goal.

All of this personal writing has meant scant posts here. That's a bummer, because this space freezes the best bits of these growing up years with my little ones. If I'd taken more time to write here instead of everywhere else, these are the posts you might have seen.

1. Pumpkins!

They did this! Joe and I wielded the sharpest knives, but the kids had the vision and their arms up to their elbows in goop.

2. Leaves!

The trail in our wood (all woods in this part of the world) are knee deep in a glorious rainbow of crunchy, aromatic leaves. Each walk is intoxicating, and we nearly always end up showering one another in handfuls of them.  Now that mosquito season is behind us, these walks are a daily pleasure.

3. Mr. Max Goes to Preschool

Not only is my baby not at all upset when he gets dropped off, he's suddenly a great big kid that can (sort of) write his name and sing songs to me. This kid loves his time at preschool (almost as much as he loves his mornings playing batman and hulk smash with me)!

4. Miss Elliot masters first grade.

After her homework was done one night, I stopped Elle and told her how proud I was. She gets herself ready everyday, she manages her (simple, habit-forming) homework each night, and she completes everything without me having to nag. For my spirited little one, this is a thrilling transformation in the span of a single year. Her response?

"I just want to make my school the best place it can be. That's why I help the teacher and my friends whenever I can."

I was proud of her work ethic. She was proud of her kindness. Aaaww.

5. Miss Maya slides into 4th/5th grade.

The benefits of her combined class are becoming clear. Her history buff teacher is inspiring her curiosity. The added competition of the fifth grade students is improving her homework skills and her drive to be her best. Best of all, my girl - so tentative as the new kid last year - seems happily settled in her not-so-new school. This mama can breathe a sigh of relief!

6. Great mountainous stacks of books.

Goodbye summer. Hello books! The earlier the sunsets, the earlier the kids bedtimes seem to get, and the longer we sit reading together. Right now, I'm reading the girls an enchanting series called Fablehaven. Together we're doing all kinds of reconnaissance for the Big-Hearted Families book club I prepare each month. Though the girls both enjoy reading their own books at bedtime, I'll hold on to this group reading time until they command me to stop.

7. Child free and loving every minute!

For the first time in years (and year and years), Joe and I spent a childfree weekend at home. Thanks to generous and loving grandparents, the kids went off on their own adventures while we had the luxury of determining when we ate, what we watched, and where we went based on nothing but our own moods.

The freedom was almost paralyzing, but we managed to fill our time with amazing restaurants, live music, hikes, art, time to write,and more great food. Three is no question that such bliss makes me a better mom during the busy weeks