Monday, February 27, 2012

Perfect Moment Monday



On the 4th Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join. The next Perfect Moment Monday event will be on March 26.

To participate in Perfect Moment Monday:

Follow Write Mind Open Heart.

Between the Sunday night before and the Sunday night after, write up your own Perfect Moment.

Use LinkyTools on her website to enter your name (or your site/blog name) and the URL of your Perfect Moment.

Visit the Perfect Moments of others and let the writers know you were there with some comment currency.


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Moment #1 - Time Out: She has been very good most of the day, but we are in a hotel for the weekend and she is starting to push boundaries as any almost four year old will do.  We are playing outside the room on the patio in front of our room and she starts to play with the surrounding fake plants that make up the decorations of the hotel.  I tell her no.  She ignores me.  I tell her if she does it again, we will go into the room.  She does and we do.  I start to tell her why we are now not playing out there, and she starts to be defiant and then she tells me to "shut up!"  Of course we are on Time Out mode.  She sits in the hotel desk chair.  After a sufficient time, I come up to her to discuss why she was on Time Out and to let her out of Time Out.  She understands, but then asks me to leave her alone (before I can say her Time Out is over).  So...she slowly pouts in the chair and I decide to take the quiet time to read a book.  After a while I can see she is coming out of her sour mood, but she is quietly thinking.  And sliding off the chair as only a toddler can, to the point where her head and arms are on the seat part, her feet on the ground.  She slowly moves the chair back and forth in a circle/semi-circle.  Her thumb in her mouth.  I continue to read my book.  We our both quiet and while this started out as a punishment, by the time it is over...I can tell that we have both used this time to think, reflect...and start again.

Moment #2 - Time Out: I barely saw him this weekend.  Well, except for the few times he came in and said "Mom, I am going to go check out the Vendors Table; Mom, I am going to the video game room."  He had games to be at and play, he was on his own, yet with us.  He was safe and happy and having fun.  And while I did have a lot to do with it--most of the time, I was not a part of it.  He is becoming his own person without us.  Bittersweet but perfect.

Moment #3 - Time In: The second night in the hotel room...my turn to watch the kids while husband plays a late night game.  I read her some books, she snuggles a new stuffed animal.  She falls asleep next to her big brother.  And then I let him pick a pay per view movie from the hotel room menu.  It is not a movie I would have picked.  (There is a small part of me that wishes I could have picked from the several movies I saw, but I did say he could pick a movie!)  We watch it together in mostly darkness (so as to not wake her up).  He lays with pillows propped up next to her; I similarly propped up in the bed next to theirs.  We pop popcorn and watch the horror movie.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Game On

It is time for our annual pilgrimage.

Willow is still not old enough to really appreciate the youth games; Michael is pretty much playing adult/teen games. [sigh]

I foresee a lot of time in the pool time along with some gaming...I really like this convention, not just for the break in the winter time, but also being at a hotel and feeling like you are on vacation, even if it is only for a long weekend.

Ahhh...its nice to be a Geek!


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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thirteenth Birthday

On Saturday, after the seal adventure we had a small Birthday party with friends and relatives.  We had pizza, fruit and veggies...

The star of the show (other than the Birthday Boy) were the cakes!!

Our friend Ana has made cakes for Willow:



And most recently, for me:



But she had never made a cake for her favorite "nephew".  (Mainly cuz her Birthday is 2 days later and she is usually too busy with things to be able to do so).  But this year, after my cake and how excited he was by it, she offered to make him a special cake for his birthday.  She asked him the theme he wanted--and he presented her with a CHALLENGE--3 classic monsters.  And he meant the classic Universal monsters--Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula, and Wolf Man.

Ana, being the wonderful person she is--went all out and made him THREE Cakes!!  (Mind you, I had originally suggested a grave yard sheet cake with maybe some figurines of the monsters---oh, I was thinking too small!)

So, she spent HOURS on these wonderful creations (click the pictures to enlarge):





Michael LOVED them!!  He actually sat for quite a while all by himself in the kitchen, just sitting there, looking at them.  He really thought they were awesome!


When it was time to sing Happy Birthday, he sat by the cakes, reading his new Classic Monster book...

He only wanted three candles in the cakes, because he did not want to ruin them!

And then....Ana served cake!  Dracula was the victim!


It was a great cake and a great time!  I could not have asked for a better Birthday Day for my son.

(Later that night Michael and his friend made sure to cut Wolf Man in half...by the next day he was gone.  The Monster was finished yesterday morning...Michael got the last piece--Bolt and all!)

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Thirteen years.  I know it is so cliche to say that the time has went by so fast.  Part of me totally feels that cliche.  Where did that time go?  I barely remember some of it, it was just a whirl--sometimes too busy with daily life, sometimes too worried about things I could not control...but here you are.  Thirteen.  And still my boy.  Always my boy.

You have been a part of our lives so long, I can barely remember when you were not a part of it.  You act like a teenager and yet there are times you slip into our bed in the early morning hours to get some snuggle time before the day begins.  Sometimes I cannot recall what you were like when you were your sister's age.  And sometimes I wish you were still that small child.  But most times...I am just so happy to be able to see you grow and change into the young man you are becoming.



I worry about the teenage years and I worry about how you will learn to live in the world that does not always understand you.  I wish you could always be protected by me.  I will do my damnedest to protect you all I can.  However, I cannot shelter you so much that I hinder you--because you were born to fly.


Happy Birthday!



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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Seals!

Yesterday, as a Birthday present for Michael, we went for a Seal Encounter at the Aquarium.  I took Michael and a friend.  We spent about an hour before, enjoying the aquarium.


They saw sharks, lots of fish, turtles and petted Rays.


Then it was time for the Seals.  We went with a trainer inside the Harbor Seal exhibit and we met Chacoda ("Chuck")  and Amelia.  We had to clean off our shoes in soapy water before we entered.  Our point of view was like the seals--we could see other people looking in on us while we were inside meeting the seals...it was kind of surreal.

Our trainer was very patient with us and had us first wave to the seals.  (They waved flippers back!)  Then we held out our fists and the seals "Targeted" our fists--both seals have cataracts and cannot see as well, so we had to approach slowly at first.  I remember the female flared her nose to get a good idea who I was.  They are beautiful creatures.

We then petted them and felt their bristley-smooth fur. 

There was a professional photographer opposite us to capture these great images.   
(Click on images to make them bigger)


And then...we brushed their teeth!


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Michael brushing Chuck's bottom teeth.  (His friend did the upper teeth)




We ended the Seal Encounter with a kiss...







Friday, February 17, 2012

22 Years...

Chewy was late from dropping the Boy off at school. Wondering where he was, I was a little surprised when he came home with a sheepish grin on his face and said, "Well, I wanted to get an anniversary cake..."


(I was thinking we were going to have enough cake in this house this weekend...but it was surely a nice gesture!) 

Twenty-two years ago today, I met my husband. We walked across campus in the snow (he had a hole in his shoe that I did not know about for days) and we had Bur.ger K.in.g.

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Willow's take on it.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Random Bullet Point Post

Cuz I have too many things rolling around in my head to be comprehensive...


  • Lately Willow has been randomly singing.  I mean, just off the top of her head, nonsense songs or parts of songs, made up songs about her day.  It is so cute and so much "her".  It is amazing to see her personality start to really form each day.
  • I will have a THIRTEEN year old in the house in less than a week!  As usual, he perplexes me often and yet he is so my "little" boy too.  Since he has not told me what he wanted for a present/presents, when we went to the store this weekend I told him to pick something out.  And he picked a Pogo Stick (!) which he is playing with right now.  So unlike him.  But, his persistence with learning how to Pogo--so like him.
  • So, a lot of my plans for the next few days are based upon his birthday.  On Saturday, I am taking him and a friend to have a Seal Encounter at the aquarium.  They get to be up close and personal with some seals.  I figured it was something special and different for this birthday.
  • Also on Saturday, we will have a friend sleep over and have pizza and cake, friends and family.  No real theme, or birthday trimmings...although our friend Ana is going to make an awesome cake for him!  (Based on classic movie monsters)
  • On his actual birthday, I was thinking of taking him out for lunch and a movie, just me and him.  (He has school vacation next week)
  • End of next week we will be going to our gaming convention for a long weekend!  I am so looking forward to getting away from our everyday stuff and enjoying hanging out with geeks and gaming!
  • Friday night Chewy and I are going to have a sitter and celebrate our 21st anniversary of our first date.  Our first date we had Burger King.  I think we will do better this time.  Movie afterwards.  Not sure what one yet.  Suggestions?
  • Willow graduated to a booster seat this weekend.  It is so much smaller than the babyseat...and it has taken me some time to get used to the extra room...and the fact that she looks so much older in the new seat.  (But, thankfully, she is not banging our elbows with her feet anymore!)
  • Signed Willow up for a couple of YMCA classes on Tuesdays....a mini chef course (how to make non bake treats) and a music and movement course.  It should be fun!
  • Playing a lot of Word With Friends...kinda addicted!  If you are Fac.eB.o.ok and wanna play, look me up!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Wide Eyes...

Yesterday we went to see a wonderful marionette show.  (Please, click, it is worth watching!)

I find myself reliving various experiences from Michael's toddler/youth with Willow. This same exact play we saw with Michael (when he was about 6-7 I think).

It was so fun to re-experience the wonder and awe of a child--and remember with my teen.  We were right in front (which was so much better than the first time--I think we were waaay in the back then).  Willow's eyes were wide with each new character.  She did put her hands before her eyes when the giant squid appeared.

It was also fun to watch Michael re-experience this.  At first, he did not remember it.  Then, as we watched, he did remember and was enjoying watching Willow watch as I was.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Return of the Grape

Just as she went to bed, she was arranging things on the top of her bookshelves. She delightedly put things around and then gave me the tour. Of her new baby grape's living accommodations. Yes, a new grape has been "rescued".

This baby grape (a really really small grape she has found in a recent fruit offering) has started to look more like a raisin, so I am pretty sure it is the "cute cute baby" she rescued a few days ago.  That I hoped thought was lost.

The tour was a brilliant display of ingenuity.  The grape has a car that is parked down on the floor next to the bookcase.  The baby grape has a bed made of a Spongebob wash cloth.  It has a sandwich made of various small toys stacked together.  It also has a playground with a spinning wheel (a view master disc of Spongebob).  And various other amenities that she made sure to show me in great detail, while I tried to stifle my laughter (she was very serious about this).

She then kissed the baby grape good-night.  While I read a few books to her (and I presume the grape) before bed.

I wonder how I will be able to remove this grape.  Maybe it will have to move away after I start asking for rent.



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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Rockets and Bubbles

Yet another discouraging day of job seeking.  Another job I interviewed has been offered to another (this time internally hired--why did I bother!?!)

I decided I was just going to be in a bad mood about it.  (See, I huffed and grumbled, had some chocolate cereal and said I did not want to play with the damned stuffed animals YET AGAIN!)

Just as I decided that I was just going to be depressed and moan as I looked at the very small prospects out there, applying to nothing because there doesn't seem to be anything right now...just as I decided to just be sour all day....we played with rockets.

THESE rockets.  And it was fun.  Kif decided he would try and grab the rockets while Willow and I took turns with our rockets.  It was fun when he actually retrieved one (I swear he is part dog) and then ran downstairs with it.  Willow got that rocket back from him and we played some more, watching how high we could get them, aiming them, making a game of it.

Then I decided to play in a bubble bath with her...mainly cuz she started asking to play outside on the neighbor's swing set.  (You know, the neighbor's who have moved...that would have made me more depressed).  So we sat in a bubble bath and while I shivered she put bubbles on my hair and on my eyes (oww!) and I looked at her wonderful eyelashes.  We sang songs (mostly nonsense ones) while we used the baby soap bottle as a drum.  I am getting a cold, I had a lousy nights sleep (mainly because of her) and I am almost at square one on my job hunt again.  But shivering in the bathtub with her makes it feel better.

(And now my husband is getting me a Bi.g Ma.c  -- yeah, I roll like that too....)


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Sunday, February 05, 2012

Music Time Machine

Another concert at another time. We sat way back and I had to bring him up to the stage area. A mosh pit of 4 year olds. Songs that were new in the air and he and I jump around to the music. I let him go and he jumps in with the other four year olds. And I watch as he enjoys the music, the people on stage.

We are here again. This time we are in the front row. His lanky body barely is contained in the seat. We watch as they take the stage. New songs are played. Old songs are played too. Now the mosh pit is mostly a dancing ring of girls right in front of us. She is reluctant to join in, even though at home she would be jumping and running around by now. I try to coax her a bit...but notice she is just watching with wonder at the players on stage(and eating popcorn).

By the end of the concert, they start to play a couple of oldies but goodies. The almost four year old coaxes her brother out to dance among the children and grown ups in front of the stage. In front of us. He is awkward and reluctant, so different from when I last saw him dance to this exact tune. But I saw that glimmer of recognition in his face and I see how he plays with her. And finally she finds her rhythm and she lets him go ahead and sit back down while she jumps with the others. (In fact we loose her for a bit--my heart thumping for a bit when we cannot find her in the throng of children jumping/dancing about).

They sing a good-bye song at the end and walk to in front of the stage. People mob them for autographs. I almost take my son and daughter up to acknowledge the time that has flown by; that at one point my son was the small boy that he noted had cool sun glasses at a small concert a long time ago and now we are bringing my daughter too. However, the crushing of people, the fact that my son is a teenager and wants to "leave already" makes me forget that small minded plan.

We leave and go have burgers at a specialty burger place--dad has a burger with bananas and peanut butter on it; she has macaroni bites that she doesn't like...and I wonder what the next concert will bring.


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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Bringing me Back...

Went to see Hugo today. It was a strange experience in a lot of ways.  Co-incidence is part of the theme in this movie based on the book.

Coincidentally, I had looked at that book a while ago, trying to find a book for my son to read for his school's reading program.  I passed up on it because it was a graphic novel, and would not have within the requirements for the reading program.  I thought upon it and put it in the back of my head as something that would be interesting to read or have him read at some point.

I made no connection at first with the new Sc.orsese film, partially because I have kind of gotten tired of his films lately.  During the holidays I really did not notice it, only in passing.


Finally, made a connection to it this past weekend after watching a news program that talked about it and automatons.  


We all wanted to go.  We decided because we were going to be taking Willow along and she doesn't do so well at 3D pictures, we were going to the 2D and going to a dining theater.


And then Chewy got sick.  So, he stayed home with Willow.


My son and I went (my one regret is that by the time we realized it was just us--it was too late to go to the 3D showing).


My son, who is about the same age I was when I became transfixed by film.  When I was 11-12 years old--all I wanted to do was to learn all about films and film making.   Science fiction and fantasy with films.  Here I was with my almost 13 year old son, watching a movie about early films and film-making.  About fantasy and automatons.  About making dreams.


It was a bit surreal.  


I wondered what the old/young me would think about this future/old me.  I know I could have little imagined the amazing child I was sharing this experience with.  And I know that the present me has little idea what goes on in his mind.  What dreams he has.  What his future self will be.


But I am looking forward to finding out.







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Sensitivies

A few nights ago...                               She comes over to the edge of our bed (my side). She cannot sleep, she says...she always ...