Today we started preparing the garden for winter. It involved a lot of pulling of weeds and plants for me and a ton of playing in the mud for Mina. Ari continued her fairy house creating and we talked about going to a pumpkin patch as soon as tomorrow to get her some more supplies. The girls water colored outside and we all played trampoline games.
Yesterday we picked and weighed our pumpkins. One was 15 pounds and the other was 7.5. We are so excited we had the opportunity to grow pumpkins this year and it would not have been possible without some lovely plants given to us by friends. We had a couple banana squash and one other squash that were not going to make it to full maturity. We picked them and Ari made fairy houses out of them using flowers and tomatillos and any thing else she could find in the garden that looked fairy like.
We made pretzels that turned out not so great, but I think I learned some valuable bread making tips for next time, which could possibly be tomorrow. We went swimming for a bit but mostly everyone seemed a little off so we headed home and ended the day watching The Princess Bride.
We watched The Princess Bride again today and I realized I have the dialogue completely memorized from watching it nearly every day the summer before I turned 16. Ari asked what the word inconceivable meant. Of course I cannot watch The Princess Bride without thinking of Elmo in Grouchland and this song by Mandy Patinkin. Love that man seriously.
Mina began the day with puzzles and Starfall. I began the day with a lingering sinus headache. Once Ari was up it seemed the girls were interested in bigger adventures but I knew my head was not ready for that today. Mina mentioned that she would like to go berry picking. Out of nowhere I started singing this Elmo song. So we started to pretend to go to the berry farm. We drove while laying on the bed and every once in a while the girls would yell that something was in the middle of our pretend road and we would swerve. Mina even got a chance to drive. We brought our pretend berries home and smashed them and made them in to jelly.
Ari went from our berry outing to Moshi Monsters and Zoo Tycoon. While Mina and I watched Pucca. Our entire family loves Pucca, the episodes are incredibly funny.
Ari and Mina chased the kitties around the house with some rubber rats we got for Halloween. I am not so sure the kittens liked it and soon they began to hide, GAME OVER. So we moved on to board games like Connect Four and Candyland. Ari beat me 6 times at Connect Four.
After John came home the girls nailed together some wood in the garage. Ari has plans to make a haunted house in there. We ended the day in Ari's room watching Howl's Moving Castle- everyone fell asleep but Ari so she woke me up and we went to bed.
I think my mom tried to call me today. After having been down this road for awhile it has been interesting to watch how my process concerning my mom has evolved. Today, I noticed that the call had come in. I stopped myself and asked, "I feel now is not the time for engagement with my mom. Is this correct?" The answer was non engagement. I felt the nervous energy of 36 years of patterned behavior starting to reel inside of me. I acknowledged that the energy was there and I made a very conscious decision to do something useful with it. My version of useful was cuddle my kids, give my spouse a kiss, and put away the laundry. There was something still nagging at me.
I approached my sweetie and told him what was going on. I explained to him that I knew exactly what the nag was. For 36 years I was responsible for my mothers life. I made decisions in fear of what she would do if I did not make that decision. And then, I could not do it anymore and I let her know the game had changed. I really cannot blame her for having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that what she had known up until that moment was no longer gonna happen.
The nag that still sits in my subconscious is the "what if". What if she does x, or y, or z. And although I know I am only responsible for my choices, 36 years of programming is a tricky undoing.
Today has been a cleaning and laying around and playing kind of day. I started the day in a kind of funk. I went to get my hair cut and colored last night with the intention that I would get it as close as possible to my natural color and then stop coloring it. Well, as with most of life, color does not always do what you think it should. So, I am a bit bummed that things did not go as I expected, not sure what the grow out will now look like but committed to stopping the coloring process. Could be a frightful 6 months or so :).
The girls have played together most of the day with periods of hanging out with us in between. I have cleaned up various parts of the house. Most notably, the downstairs bathroom and laundry room. They were not on my radar but the cats changed that rather quickly. I heard a big bang from the bathroom and found a plant tipped over with dirt all over the floor. They even somehow managed to break the toilet seat. But it was really due for a cleaning and the room brightened a ton with the plant out of the window so we found it a new home. There were items to give to charity and stuff that just needed to be organized and I am a bit shocked at how clean it all looks.
We got word that John's custom Grimmleigh is almost ready and that made us all super excited.
Since we ended last night with Blue Planet, I began the day looking up measurement equivalents for Ari. So we learned that some jelly fish can grow up to 100 meters in length, which is about 328 ft. Astonishing after you have seen the tiny ones at the aquarium and when you realize all that loveliness can sting you pretty bad.
Mina started her day with Busytown. Richard Scarry books were something I remember from hanging out at the neighbors when I was a kid, so her current fascination with Busytown makes me smile.
Ari went from research in to Planet Earth and watched a piece about frozen climates. Then played Dreambox for a bit.
We all ended up on the living room floor playing Littlest Pet Shops with Little People houses. The sea creatures we bought yesterday would occasionally attack the LPS and we would have to run to safety.
The girls decided to help me with some laundry. Ari stated, "I need to know how to do this because I am going to start doing chores." Well then, here we go. The girls sat on the washer and dryer while I held up articles of clothing and they told me which pile (darks, lights, whites, towels) they went on. It was kind of fun and a little crazy and I think it may have taken a lot longer than if I had done it myself but was so much more enjoyable.
Now Mina is cooking here at the counter, using phrases that crack me up because we just watched a couple cooking shows on tv. One host made a shake with vodka in it and she is saying exactly what the host did, "This will make you real comfortable." Total crack up. And just now I had a moment of oh damn, when I realized Mina used most of the tomatoes sitting on the counter while I was not looking in her "recipe". Then Ari pointed out that, "they were going to good use." which means that Mina is enjoying them and learning to cut and happy and yes she is so all is well.
Last night Ari threw a football for the first time. She enjoyed it so much that she said," throwing a football had overtaken both cherries and peaches" on her list of favorite things, high praise indeed.
The most exciting news of today was our new bed came. Our old bed was 8 years old and not quite big enough for a family of four who happen to share sleep. When I woke up at 8 the bed was already in the garage, taken care of by John the Awesome (that is his super-hero name). We carried that baby up the stairs tonight, no small feat. Ari was disappointed that it did not fill the whole room, which is what she had envisioned. I can't say I blame her for being a bit bummed if that is what she had in mind.
And now for a little backing up, because between bed delivery and bed making it upstairs there was plenty going on. Ari has a new routine of being up before noon and listening to books on CD. Right now she is listening to Twilight: from the Warriors New Prophecy series by Erin Hunter. Yesterday she told me, "This is so relaxing." Which of course makes me about as happy as can be.
When Ari came out to play with us she and Mina got out the Littlest Pet Shops and built them houses out of Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, and Blocks, all the while watching Kenny the Shark. It is really funny to me that while Ari builds her structures to be structurally sound, Mina builds hers to be pretty.
This weekend our cat Rosa had to go to the vet for shots. While Ari and I waited for the vet we looked at some 3D models the vet uses to explain various diseases and conditions to people. We guessed which organs the models represented. When the vet came in we talked about the models and he pointed out one was a kidney with one side being healthy and the other being ill. It looked like fruit- one healthy and ripe the other starting to rot. He thought that was pretty funny. I love our vet. He loves our pets. He kissed Little Whisker on the head last time we went in. I admired his authenticity and honesty, kissing your has not been something I have ever seen a vet do. Ari got her toy money on Friday. She had her eye on a Ty Girlz doll. She figured out after buying it that it connected to the internet and a game. She was pretty excited about that. The website is pretty cool. The map is based on a real globe and uses real cities and landmarks. You can choose to live in many cities around the world. When you visit the various cities they have the landmarks appropriate for that city. And if you eat in the cities they have food that would really be found in that city and an explanation of what is in it. Not expected but pleasant surprise of a bit of geography and culture in something she was already doing.
Sunday I made raspberry freezer jam out of the berries we picked last week. There was enough to fill all the freezer jam bottles and have some this wee; It is yummy. Today I made tomatillo salsa, not enough to can but enough to enjoy now.
First thing this morning Ari and I worked on some more books for her library. She has set-up a library full of her own writings in the kitchen. She made Mina a library card and has even been charging her fines.
I most confess that a good share of our Halloween decorations have been put up between yesterday and this morning and we are already making plans for the additions this year.
And I also must admit that being without a camera is really starting to stink and that a day does not go by without someone uttering the phrase, "Sure would be nice if someone had not broken the camera." And that someone who broke it was me- damn.
I have been thinking a lot about Facebook in the last 24 hours. I have come to the conclusion that it is to be used with extreme caution. I think the access we allow other people to our lives is something to be careful with.
I had a run in with an old friend from high school that I had removed as a friend. I think the oddest thing to me about our altercation is that he seemed to believe he had a right to be my friend based on being my schoolmate 19 years ago. My life now is so different than then.
I went through FaceBook today and removed anyone who I am not related to and who I do not consider a friend right this moment. It was liberating. It does not mean I won't get posts with perspectives different than mine, but that I will only be interacting with people who I would be willing to go to lunch with. To me that is a big deal.
Something really beautiful and magical has been happening around here. For the longest time, maybe most of my life, I had no memories of my life before 6th grade. I would have a flash here and there, I do not even remember going to Disneyland in 2nd grade even though I was the only one in my family who got to go and it would have been a huge deal.
When things with my family came to a head last year, I finally started to have memories. Only, it was more like walking in to a really horrifying movie you could not run out of than anything else. The memories made me angry. It explained all the rage that would sometimes bubble up and I would have to hold back from spewing all over my kids.
I kept moving forward, kept rethinking my perspective. I challenge myself daily to find compassion for my mom. Even as I no longer have contact with her.
Last week, Ari asked me to tell her a story about when I was little. I looked in my memory and there were stories there. Happy ones, funny ones, silly things we did, how goofy I was, so much material locked a way for so long. My mind took all those years and locked the filing cabinet. When I was willing to face the shitty stuff the other stuff came back too. I even have one very fond memory of my mom from a Christmas when I had to have been in 5th grade or so. This is actually the most wonderful thing because all my memories of my mom are so dark. I can pull that memory from my head and realize that my mom is human, capable of both kind and unkind acts just like the rest of us.
Ari and I started the morning with a game of Go! She always beats me. She gave me a piece of advice. "The best way to play Go! is to abandon all hope. Then you pay attention to what is happening on the board and making choices based on the present." We had a long conversation about this concept and it applicability to every day life. The concept came up several times throughout the day. Each time we laughed at the wisdom it encapsualted and how easily it could be applied to make life better.
Ari got dressed and then exclaimed, "I want to see Damek." Damek is truly her best friend. I told her that I knew Damek and his family were going to pick berries. I really wanted to pick berries too, so I tried to get a hold of my friend Julie. Since we could not get a hold of them I told Ari we could still drive to Payson and go to the berry farm with the understanding that it might end up being a nice drive and a new experience without seeing friends. We agreed we wanted to go anyway.
On the way I mentioned to Ari, "I hope we get to see friends." and she very clearly stated, "Mom, just abandon hope of that now and you will be much happier." And then we laughed. Right after that a commercial came on the radio advertising, "stories of hope" and we joked about them being about as useful as fairy tales.
We got to the berry farm and picked and the girls played for awhile but it was hot. We finally decided to head back home and stop and get some lunch. We took a long drive through back roads and talked about how much we would like to live in the middle of nowhere. Some place close enough for John to still get to work but far from neighbors and busyness.
We stopped for lunch and then were heading for home when we saw Julie pass us going toward the berry farm. We thought it was too funny just to let the moment pass and we followed her. It was so fun and amazing to accidentally run in to our friends when we had really figured we were not going to get to see them. Turns out she was a little turned around and showed her how to get to the berries and then we stayed and played and picked for a while.
We ended up bringing Damek home with us for a late over and we are going to get to play with him today too. Mina walked around the house last night telling me she "Really liked Maddie." a friend that came with them and wanted, "Maddie to come to my house."
Another development yesterday, Ari wore pants with a zipper and snap (like jeans) for almost the first time. Certainly, this was the longest she has ever worn them and she loved them. I am watching her grow and develop in so many wonderful ways. I am extremely lucky to be the mom to both of these great girls. Ari has even given me permission to start posting her pictures out here, which for her is a huge deal.
The girls were both up today before 10:30. For us that is like being up at the crack of dawn. What has become the norm around here is time spent in the backyard on the trampoline and in the garden. we did that for awhile.
Ari and Mina had chosen some new clothes last week and the package came today. They were so excited to open it and sort through it. Ari found something to wear and then said, "Mom, will you brush my hair and bring me my toothbrush."
We had been meaning to go try out The Front, a local climbing gym. Ari's friend Damek had a birthday party there a couple of years ago and she really enjoyed climbing. It seems it was more fun for her with her friend. Also, the area of the gym we were in was sort of blocked off and available only to our party so it felt really secluded and safe.
We then went to Maggie Moo's for some ice cream. On the way home Mina lost it. One thing that we were expecting in our shipment of clothes that was missing was some Halloween shirts. Mina was really looking forward t getting hers, it had Hello Kitty on it. When Mina saw Old Navy she wanted to go in right now. But, she was so tired and had been struggling to maintain her composure for a few hours at that point. I knew Old Navy was not a store for such circumstance. Ari got upset at Mina for crying and I just silently drove to our house. I am sure fatigue was a huge factor, our old sleeping schedule of 2AM until Noon had just recently shifted to 10pm until 8 for Ari and 10 for Mina.
I think today will be remembered by Ari as the day Little Whisker caught his own "fresh kill". We were in the backyard and the little guy stalked, then caught, and then ate a grasshopper. To be honest, I was not too excited about it and I was really hoping he would eat it. The thought of him just killing it and leaving it there bothered me. But, for Ari it was a real example of what we read about in the Warriors books we read together.
The girls spent some time gathering flowers out of the garden. I honestly had not thought of making bouquets as all the varieties of flowers in the garden are short. However, chives, nasturtium, zinnia, trumpet vine, cosmos, and alyssum make a pretty great bouquet.
We watched The Nightmare Before Christmas in the garden, thanks to my new laptop. All the while playing in the dirt, jumping on the trampoline, having tea parties, and painting.
Ari's current collections (Ari has always been a collector) are Squiddleighs and Skelanimals. Squiddleighs are made by a local family who we love. I also own one of their Katrina dolls but with a broken camera you won't be seeing it :(. Skelanimals have the motto, "dead animals need love too". Which is right up Ari's alley.
In the last 12 months we have said good-bye to 3 of our beloved pets. Our cats were both 17 years old. The girls wanted new kittens so bad but we were so not ready to have cats again. Until we met these 2 little guys.
The stripey guy is Rosa. Named by Mina who at the time was naming practically everything Rosa.
The black cat is Little Whisker. This is his apprentice name and when he grows up he will get the new name Big Whisker. (Ari is really in to the Warriors books by Erin Hunter.) Not long ago Ari told me that getting the kittens was "the best thing we had ever done in her whole life"
I just noticed I have not updated this blog since April and left it on sort of a sour note. So much has been going on. Kids are awesome, growing, learning, playing, could not ask for more. Big kids (my husband and I) are happy. We have some new furry kids, two kittens named Little Whisker and Rosa. They are settling in and I think our dog is happy to have them around. Our camera is broken- oh well. John has decided that we need a camera with a little more dropability. I am still working on uploading pics from my Mac but since Ari does not want her pics out here anyway, my motivation is LOW!! Overall, LIFE IS GOOD!!