Saturday, July 31, 2010

Prints that Fade Quickly

We're still loving the rain. It reminds me a little of the storms in Houston that would thunder down with a passion and made everything feel so alive. I loved this picture of Isaac and his wet little footprints. They fade too quickly as does this short time of childhood.

My beautiful son finding joy in the little things of life!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Le Sans Souci

We rarely take the counsel given from our church to have a weekly date without our children. Between all the chores at home, Kent with his scoutmaster work and the moments of 'me' time to keep sane, we don't find the time as often as we should. After much juggling of schedules, we finally managed to keep this date to a French restaurant 30 min north up in Cave Creek. Le Sans Souci, french for 'without worries or care' was wonderful and for a few hours, Kent and I were truly without care!

Our time at Epcot in Disney World gave us a hunger for well made French food, so when I saw a deal on for at $25 gift certificate for $2 I had to go for it. Yahoo map took us on a most unusual scenic route through the neighborhood of Cave Creek Town that left us wondering if it was a house hidden in the hills of the area. We enjoyed the drive though and we came around through the back to the main road again to a quaint little brick home converted into this French restaurant for the last 15 years.

The owner, an elderly man in his 70/80's came to greet us which made me feel lack of culture since we'd only really ever dined at chain restaurants or the hole in the wall Chinese places. At those places you were lucky if the waiter absentmindedly asked if you were enjoying your meal.

From the reviews we'd read, I was set on having the orange duck which they fire up right before your eyes. It was wonderful, the flambe gave it a nice crisp skin and it went beautifully with the wild rice and cranberry almonds. Kent had the rack of lamb with this amazing butter tarragon sauce. Even the vegetables were wonderful, fresh and cooked to perfection with a hint of spices. We HAD to do dessert, after all, when do you really get to enjoy french pastries?! I had the flan and Kent had the napoleon.

While it was a pricey evening, it was worth every bit. There's something about a peaceful drive and excellent food that fills the belly and the soul!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Redeeming Day

You know you're having a bad day when your son is perceptive enough to say, "Mama, you're grouchy and mean today. You're mad and sad .... it's going to be a bad day." Unfortunately it's true. There are days when the well is running dry, anthills become mountains and everyone suffers around me. I wish I could pinpoint what exactly it is that makes those days happen. Sometimes it's not enough sleep, other times I'm just needing space to remember me, and then there are times when I swear it's just a little demon on my shoulder picking and picking at me. Thank heavens for forgiveness and repentance. Children are especially good at this, they don't let it hang on to ruin the rest of your day, they move on. I especially love that Isaac and I can be honest enough about our feelings that at the end of the day he's patting my shoulder and saying, "It's okay."

Then there are other days where it's the exact opposite. Not that everyone is super cooperative or happy (though that helps every mom) but that suddenly you're seeing things from their point of view, your patience is greater and you've found your missing sense of humor. Things just slide off your back and you play it as it comes. Again, no written formula or handbook, otherwise I'd be going by those rules like my life depended on it. Maybe the cartoons aren't too far off the mark, that angel and devil on opposing shoulders sure makes motherhood a roller coaster ride.

Thankfully today was a good day, (as opposed to the day before) and we woke up early to enjoy the cool of the morning at a park nearby. It was rather impromptu of me, we simply took the remainder of the zucchini bread as a breakfast and played for an hour or two. Keila loved the swings, Isaac looked for treasures and we roamed our 'castle' happily.

Keila attempted a slide for the very first time ... with much coaching from Isaac. Are all firstborns so bossy? (I think I'd rather not have my younger brothers answer that!)

I don't know how he can do this without making himself sick to the stomach!

I love her morning fly away hair.

I gave her the opportunity to explore this funky squishy pavement stuff without realizing how black it would make her legs. We had to take a bath as soon as we got home because it smeared all over my clothes too!

Keila loved that she could see Isaac below her and each time his face popped into view she's giggle like crazy!

Cute baby chubbys!

My little monkey!

So if I had a magic wand ... I would make every day like this one was. The reality is that I don't ... so if any of you out there do, (or at least have some pointers) please send some tips my way!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

With a Thunderous Crack!

At long last the monsoon rains have come. We're so unaccustomed to humidity here that you can feel the pressure and heaviness in the air build until with a thunderous crack everything breaks through. We had to celebrate with a little rain dance of our own. Besides, the kiddos were headed right to a warm bath and a splash of fun before bed never hurts.

Keila has this darling way of ducking her head under your chin to shield herself from the sun and in this case, the rain.

Isaac in his element!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Utterly Insane and Committed!

So in keeping with my goal to overcome my fear of water, (see posted entitled 'Deep Waters') I've begun swimming in the mornings. Kent's gym gave a offer to sign up for free with a monthly fee of $30. I signed on and have been "swimming laps" in the 25m pool at 5:30 in the mornings everyday except the weekends for the last 3 weeks.

The quotation marks around "swimming laps" is because the first few days was spent just trying to finish a single lane without gasping for breath and having to roll over on my back to get to the end. I have since gained a greater reverence for the professional/team swimmer. They must have lungs the size of a whale's! I cannot imagine how they can swim that long without feeling like they're going to explode! I must admit I felt rather sheepish that I was so out of breath after all, I'd been running 3-4 miles regularly for months now. But then I began to notice that every time I hit the halfway mark (noted by some rungs leading out of the pool) I'd start to panic a little. It was the deepest part of the pool and psychologically gave me a little anxiety. I re mediated that by wrapping a noodle around my waist so I 'knew' I couldn't sink (not that I could really drown in 5 feet of water anyhow ... but you know, trick the brain ....) and tried again. This time I could go there and back 3 times before I was panting like a dog in the midday heat of Arizona. Aha! Success, I do have SOME lung capacity!

After a few days of using the noodle, I tried again without. I did it! But this time I discovered another problem. I'd tense part way through and despite the blubber in my behind, my back end would drop and I'd be dragging it with my arms through the water. A great waste of energy I must say. I thought I was imagining this until a woman coaching a team watched me do a lap and tactfully asked how long I'd been swimming. She smiled and then gave me a few helpful tips about pushing my face and shoulders down into the water which would raise my rear end. I did this and came up sputtering ... to much akin to the panic trigger. I went back to using the noodle again in the hopes of my body slowly acclimating to the idea of keeping my butt up!

It's working .... at least I think so. No one has really watched me do a lap yet, but I can make it there and back without sounding like I have emphysema so I must be doing it better, or stronger or have better lung capacity or all of the above. I have also acquired a few items along the way - goggles, swim cap and a racer back swimsuit. I must admit I feel rather intimidated donning all these items, it makes me look like I know what I'm doing when I'm sure I resemble a cat trying to take a bath rather than a fish at sea. But it's helped and slowly I'm getting so I rather enjoy the water.

I LOVE the goggles and it help to alleviate some of the fear I was having. The swimsuit leaves me feeling incredibly exposed and indecent because the back is SO low, but my arms and body move more freely. Hopefully the cap will save my one vanity and my hair won't be a frizzy mess by the time this is all done.

So all this leads to my latest and craziest project. I've decided I'd like to participate in a sprint triathlon. It may not seem it but it was incredibly hard to write that. It took me many weeks before I could even tell someone and has a lot to do with the fear of failure made public. But hey, I also have the chance of success made public so that is that! I've been mulling it over in my mind for a few months now and I'm aiming to do the triathlon in the Tempe Town lakes over the mother's day weekend. That give me a few months to get over my water issues (I will be swimming in water 15-16 feet deep) and hopefully get a bike to ride. I owe my inspirations to Maria Bingham who planted the idea of a triathlon and to Amy Tenny and Kassie Kelly who showed me that a busy mom can do such a thing. So thanks to you gals for your amazing examples. Heres to taking fears and making them stepping stones! (or cliffs to jump off of depending on how you look at it!)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Elusive Balance

Sometimes as a mother, with my endless list of 'to-do's I lose sight of what will mean the most in the end. I rush my kids from one errand to another and worse yet, get testy in the process. This results in a grouch girl and a boy who sighs with great exasperation, "Oooookay Mama." I may achieve a lot but no one is really happy in the end. Daily I'd strive for balance and find myself praying for something to help me.

All I can say is to be careful what you pray for, because the Lord certainly hears it! With Kent gone on another scout camp out, I was stressed with all the things needing to be done. Then the car broke down and repairs were going to require several days. The idea of being trapped at home for days without my husband and 2 active children was a nightmare to say the least. But here I was, and what could I honestly do about it?

So I slowed down physically and began racking my brain for creative ways to keep my son occupied. We finally settled down to put together some drawers for my Ikea bookshelf. This was daunting to me, being as mechanically impaired as I am, and doing it with a little boy at my side asking a BAZILLION questions was challenging. But we managed really well (after much fervent prayer!) and it became fun. It was much like a surgeon and a surgeon's assistant, he'd count screws for me, pass me the needed tool, look at the directions and point to the appropriate holes. An hour latter we were both elated with the results - he, because he 'built' something (like Bob the Builder) and I, because I built something AND IT WORKED! and I didn't kill my son in the process. I'm sure the task could have taken me only 20 mins or so, but the extra time was worth it. It was a balance of sorts, goal achieved and a happy child. It was so much fun we did another one that afternoon. Now if I could do this with everything else!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nearly a Year

When I have some extra time free, from little clambering bodies or endless demands, I like to sit and look through my old posts. I realized the other day that I'm not as frequent and regular about my posts. Sadly, I also take fewer pictures now than I use too and "Mommy-guilt" settles in that I'm not recording the moments of my daughters life as well as I would like. I suppose that's the trade off, being the guinea-pig child for high strung parents or having a little less ceremony but alot more sanity as a second child!

I can't believe it's been nearly a year since Keila was born. Just yesterday she began a proper knee crawl and with that added height she's begun to pull herself up on furniture. I love that she plays peek-a-boo and more than that, she understand games. She snatched a paper out of my hand the other day and teasingly I snatched it back. Pretty soon, between burst of giggles, she had a tug-of-war going with her winning when she finally head-butted me.

For her young age, she seems a bit of a clothes horse to me. She loves taking her outfits and rubbing it to her face and trying to put it on. It fascinates me that she takes such an interests and even show some favoritism for colors such as green. It certainly doesn't come from me (who hasn't a sense/care for fashion since high school) but it is obvious that my days of dressing her as I choose will be at an end soon I'm afraid.

She still adores Isaac but like me, is rather sensitive. I've watched moments when she tries to 'snuggle' up to him and is rebuff how hurt she is as she immediately pops her fingers into her mouth to soothe herself. She loves being held close and can still sit for an hour or two in your lap contently so long as she has your attention for most of that time. It's been sweet to have such a cuddle-bug and often helps to remind me to slow time and just be in the moment.

Music seems to keep her happy and a few weeks ago Isaac and I were making up a silly song about Keila-kalick-ka-lu-lu that has somehow stuck. In 3 weeks she will be a year old. How quickly time has passed with our Lu-Lu Love!