Sunday, August 30, 2015

B man

Dang, I've been wanting to give a Dallin B "update".
 The thing about being an infrequent blogger is I write about something and bear (bare?) my soul and how it's feeling in that exact moment, and because there is no follow-up, what may have only been a vulnerable moment or bad day or a glitch in syncing up, becomes a permanent state of being.

Guys, Dallin B is great! He's still my amazing little man! While I'm sure the tween years are upon us, they're not here yet! There are glimpses of how that stage is going to be but we're not there.

The B man is doing full on tackle football. Holy moly it makes me feel like he became a man overnight! There really is nothing cuter than these little guys in full pads and real football uniforms. The commitment is real- practice twice during the week, play meeting once, another practice or game on the weekend. He's been going through the highs and lows of committing to something hard and new and sticking with it. One night he has the best practice ever and confidence is soaring and the next time he ends in tears due to a bad night or self-doubt or whatever else. There's so many life lessons wrapped in something as insignificant as football! I must admit, despite the time commitment and everything else, it's fun!

I love watching Dallin approach life. We're only a week deep into school and he's come home with two more little activities he needs to add to his schedule (choir and recorder choir). I love that about him, how he jumps in and fills his life with a bunch of good stuff. I'm doing my best to try to keep up and accommodate! If this is how he's going to keep me on my toes, I'll take it! Ha!

Anyway, he's a great kid and I love being his mamacita.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Learning on a Prayer

We had had a good first day of school. There were lots of smiles, decent excitement, and not too many bumps.

I was laughing as I was putting Deeter to bed- he was talking irrationally and emotionally, saying things like, "No one in this family even likes me," and any nicety I said to him was met with, "I hate you, mom." You get the idea of what we were dealing with! I knew Deeter was very tired and had exhausted a lot of energy doing something new that day and I knew his talk was a direct result of that. After all, that's not his usual temperament. That is his I'm-tired or I'm-hungry temperament. I generously allowed him the luxury of unwinding from a full productive day- even if that meant ugly talk- without repercussion or even mention of it. I was proud of him and what he had done that day and I love that he has a soft landing place where he doesn't have to be at-attention all the time. I was also very thankful for the years of raising kids I have under my belt that allowed me to realize it was nothing more than that- a tired, exhausted boy talking nonsense. I didn't know about these kind of things when I started this gig.

That night I was saying a prayer before climbing into bed. In my prayers, I was making mention of Deeter, and reminding myself that I was putting in all this hard work- planting seeds, if you will- that sure weren't producing any immediate, visible results. But, the gift of having kids before him, I knew that most likely this wasn't fruitless work. In fact, in my prayer, I said, "…and I know one day we'll be BFF's--"

And that's when I abruptly stopped. I caught myself. I saw the error in where I was going with this thought process. I'm not putting in all this hard work so that Deeter and I can be BFFs. And thank goodness for that, because, what if it never happens? I'd hate to gauge all my work as failure if me and Deetz don't have a heart shaped necklace, cut jaggedly down the middle, to share in the end.

That thought entered my mind, and then my prayer, because of Porter. I've mentioned a million times before how hard I've worked with Porter and knew pretty quickly after that I'd have to repeat the same work-intense pattern with Deeter. But what has happened with Porter and I, I realized in that moment, is an absolute gift. The fact that we can sit and laugh and that he wants to cuddle with me every spare minute he has, and that it's super hard to ruffle our feathers, was never guaranteed. It's not an entitlement to have a friendship with my kids. My job is to teach principle, to provide opportunity to employ said principle, to provide a forum where they can have a soft landing place for when they fall and then help them get up and try again and again and again, and to love them through it all. That is my responsibility and no where is it written that if I do all these things that I will have a great relationship with my child. Still the same, those are my responsibilities.

I will do it all for Deeter. I will give him my all regardless of what he dishes me back in return. I won't expect the precedent to be followed. But if the day comes where I am handed that gift of good friendship with Deeter, I will open it up and enjoy every single second of it, just as I am with his predecessor.

Life is good. I am completely infatuated with our family these days.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer's End

Here we stand at the day before the first day of school. Also known as the last day of summer vacation.

Although my mind doesn't narrow in on specific moments of this from my own childhood, I still remember the reoccurring event. Summer is always a hard one to say good-bye to. I don't know if it's the freedom, the lack of schedule, the opportunity for adventure, the constant change of pace, or simply the warm summer nights but there is something so unique about summer. So unique that having the carpet yanked from underneath you, i.e.: school starting, is probably the only way to let go of it and move on to the next phase.

The kids have loved the summer. The other night as I sat in the living room after putting the kids to bed, I could hear Dallin and Porter chatting through their barely cracked door. They were recapping their summer favorites. (FYI, the river rafting trip was at the top of the list.)
I'd personally chronicle this as one of my best summers ever. With it winding down, there is one thing I'm sure of- as a family unit we are more bonded now than we were 3 months ago. That may simply be from the mother's perspective (and my perspective is surely tainted by the fact that I'm actually included in the bonding activities over the summer) but I'm probably the only one paying attention to details like that anyway. 

There is an air of excitement from the kids for what tomorrow holds. I've heard some of them articulate that they are excited for the beginning of the school year, followed up by commenting that in a couple weeks they'll already be looking forward to summer! Smart little cookies are already catching onto life's cycles.

I'm excited for the school year too, but also dreading parts of it. This summer has helped me to realize why I struggle during the school year. It's so much harder to connect with the kids and I'm a big must-have-connection person. During the day, I don't feel super productive or on task and then when the kids get home from school, it's kind of craziness with not much quality time. I'm trying to streamline the after school schedule and also change some things this year so that I can find more satisfaction. I don't want to dread the school year. Aaaaaannnd I finally took the plunge and signed up to be a room mom. We'll see how that goes as far as helping feel involved!

So ready or not, that's about what we're going to have going on!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Omen- a pregnancy announcement

My current read is The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. Man, is this a gem of a book! I'm totally pulling an AJ and taking notes as I go. But the quotes are too good and have too much potential to enrich my life so, you know…

Anyway, in this novel, the boy learns about omens {possibly defined as small signs or acts to let one know they are on the right path?} While this isn't a completely new idea to me, the way in which the idea was presented and articulated allowed for me to grasp a deeper understanding. With this richer understanding, I've been much more aware of the omens directing my journey.

I've said it a million times before, I anticipated the stage of bearing kids and motherhood my whole life.  My goodness, a newborn baby is what my dreams have always been made of. And I have taken care of my four with a lot of joy. I consciously had a goal and priority of enjoying that time, of accepting the gift of my dream coming true, and I think I did a pretty good job of achieving it- I enjoyed those babies. 
And then we made the decision to close shop. It was a decision I always dreaded having to make, the definite nature of closing a chapter that had been my most anxiously-awaited one.

Recently, the past 6 months, I have flirted with the idea of having a couple more babies. (After Kaia turned 3, I knew that if I were ever to have another baby, that I would want two more.) Mothering has gotten so less hands on over the last two years, I can tangibly see and feel these dang kids growing up right before my eyes, and the perspective has made the prospect of doing it again oh so tempting. Not to mention, a couple of friends and my sister are having another baby and I am shocked how I long to be in that "group" with them.

The other night I had a dream. I was pregnant with my fifth child, a thought I had allowed many a times into my daydreaming while completely conscious. But we all know a night dream while in an unconscious state is so different from a somewhat directed daydream. And this was the first time pregnancy number 5 had entered nighttime dreaming.

The dream was vivid, the details were vivid, and the feeling was vivid. I woke up the next morning very aware of the overwhelming feeling and knew that it was my omen.

I was soooo sad in my dream to be pregnant.

Shop is officially officially closed.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Continuation of Sabbatical Recap

K were we at week 5?
Week 5:
After reconvening with the boys in Salt Lake, the kids and I took off to Boise, ID on Tuesday to visit Nancy at her home. An added bonus is that Chelsi and Hailey and their kids were there as well. We partied the week away hanging out, swimming, bowling, water parking, and relaxing. Boise is a charming little city and it was great to see where she lived and for the kids to get to be spoiled at Nanny's house.
We left on Saturday and flew back to LAX where my car was parked.
Week 6:
Beach week with my sisters and their kids! I love beach week and I think all of us look forward with much anticipation to this bi-annual get together. This year we rented a house in Huntington Beach. It was .5-1 mile away from the beach but the trade off was that we had a pool and hot tub in the back yard, which meant easy entertaining at the house!
It's funny to see how things have changed from when we first started doing this 8 years ago. Back then it was a lot of work- feeding a lot of small kids (even though there were only 9 when we started compared to the 19 we have now!), hands on entertaining, cleaning, etc etc. Beach time was literally spent on the beach. 
Now, meals are made and served with a come and get it announcement (well, kind of. Perhaps a slight exaggeration but a million times easier than it used to be), kids are fairly independent, moms are playing in the water jumping waves instead of building the millionth sand castle on the beach. Evolution is good y'all!
The waves were incredible this year. We spent our time at Huntington Beach tower 17-19 and Newport Beach just north of Balboa Pier. And it was all TDF (--> to die for, for when I'm a grandma and can't google these acronyms anymore!)
The beach definitely monopolized our time. But we did squeeze in a few other things: Angels baseball game, bike ride, Ruby's on the pier, big boys went to a movie with cousins, lots and lots and lots of swimming, at least a few stops to Bonzai Bowl for Maui Sunrises, also a couple stops at Normita's Surf City Tacos for killer fish tacos. To name a few!
I loved reconnecting with my sisters and my nieces and nephews. Family is good.
Overall, this sabbatical exceeded my expectations. I was nervous about the last two weeks of the trip when I'd be doing a lot of packing up and moving around by myself and living out of a suitcase with much less structure and routine. I was worried it would be too long to live that way. But it wasn't. I loved all the time we got to spend with family and good friends this summer, I loved the days on days of quality time that  I got with my kids.
I'm sold on the idea of long summer getaways!
{supposedly} pictures to follow {again…}

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Living the Gypsy Life

I feel like I should have employed a more systematic way of documenting this 6 week sabbatical (and ps, why am I just now figuring out that sabbatical is the proper word for our undertaking?). If I had, this post would read something more like 

Sabbatical Week #5 Recap.

But I didn't employ said system, so I'm going to do a bit of back tracking.

Sabbatical Week #1 Recap
*two days in the car, then 6 nights at Chateau Desai in Pacific Palisades.
Very excited to be in adventure mode.
Loving everything about Southern California and loved spending fourth of July in the Palisades.
By Sunday night, July 5th, I was ready to exit vacation mentality and find a working routine.

Sabbatical Week #2 Recap
We moved into our rental and were smitten by the 180 degree ocean view that also caught the city line.
That view compensated for the small, hot living quarters.
We all (?, maybe just me? But you know how the saying goes: if mama ain't happy…) loved falling into a routine.
Dad visited us on the weekend making it a party weekend (beach, Katsuyas, Geoffrey's)

Sabbatical Week #3 Recap
We were in our element. Everything felt easy and normal. We had solid routines and productive ad quality time during the day and then I went out with friends a lot of nights.
Yosh flew in on Sunday. It was great seeing him, but weird how it through off the routines on Monday and Tuesday. Having Dad around and at home during the week is definitely not the norm! (I think he "questioned" the hours of TV in the morning and the overall laziness which, whether we like it or not, is not the usual!)
We went to the Imagine Dragons concert which was a mom and dad bucket list item check. Loved the experience. Although I must say, on the drive down I had moments of pure bliss and being in the moment and present and loving our family, directly followed by moments where I literally wanted to strangle my kids because of the excessive whining/fighting/whatever else they were doing. It was a good reminder that in life, the bad definitely comes with the good and to bask in the good and not lose your crap while you plow through the bad. Nothing is completely blissful.

Sabbatical Week #4 Recap
Yosh, Dallin, and Porter left on Wednesday morning for the Pope cousin 8+ river rafting trip in Moab. 
(A highlight of this week was definitely when the boys all got back on Sunday evening and were talking a million miles a minute about their trip!)
With it being just me and the littles, I realized how much I enjoy having baby-sitting age kids! I had to either find a sitter so I could workout or just skip that day's exercise! I owe Dallin and Porter a big thank you for being responsible enough that I feel comfortable leaving them in charge.
I got in a WiSpa day which still has me doing the Hallelujah hands.
We left the Palisades on Sunday, and I have to admit I was very sad to be leaving. I went to the Palisades ward 4 times while I was there, I visited all my places on a regular basis, I saw all my Camarillo besties multiple times, I hung out with new and old Palisades friends a ton, and everything just felt like old times. Which if we're being honest, was one of my goals with my Palisades stay. Yet there's no tricking reality and, leaving, I was very conscious this was no longer my reality:( Sad, huh. I was kind of surprised but my own emotions if we're being honest. But, that being said, they didn't last long and overall, I know I was present in those weeks and now it's onto the next.
We flew to Salt Lake City to meet up with the other half of our crew. Grammy and Bompa picked us up from the airport and, as always, were the best hosts. I love all the opportunities we've had to see them recently. Going to their house feels like home.
The boys told us all about their adventures, Yosh and I reunited, and life was good. 
Monday, we got in some good Cafe Rio and I got to see my good friend, Annie, from my California times, and then Yosh flew back to Austin.
The California Hansen's were at Grammy's also. It was great seeing them! I've missed celebrating Georgia's bdays with her.
They're good girls.

K, the next weeks and pics are going to have to wait tomorrow.
Signing out.   

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Removing Dead Skin

For approximately 2 years and 4 days now, I've been dreaming of making my way back to the Wi-Spa. I was introduced to this place deep in the heart of Korea town only months before I left LA and, if we're being honest, I feel a little bit robbed. It's like something good came into my life and was just as abruptly yanked out from under me, leaving me on my bum with nothing more than a faint memory of being yelled at in Korenglish before forcefully being physically manhandled due to the fact that the command in Korenglish wasn't obeyed. (Although the truth of the matter is that the command was never understood. But they don't have time for any of my complaints or excuses.)
That basically brings us up to speed, to today, when I found myself lying in the nude, face down while a Korean lady pulled on her scrub gloves and got to work. My treatment was called Buff and silky massage or something of the sorts. If I butchered the name, it wasn't the buff part. And I am here to reassure you that homegirl got to buffing, a process that quickly awakened me from relax mode to I-think-I'm-being-physically-tortured mode. A process that I would liken to taking out the electronic sanding machine and coarsely smoothing out the old wooden surface, unapologetically, in 5th gear. My eyes popped right open and I was absolutely uncomfortable. This intense buffing (with more elbow grease than a 60 year old little lady should ever possess) went on for quite a bit. At some point, my muscles relinquished their state of survival mode and although the procedure continued, the pain lessened greatly.
At one point, I opened my eyes shocked to see that the same method of scrubbing was still being done although there was a very notable absence of pain. It was in that moment- lying face down, nude in a Korean spa- that an epiphany hit me. That a light bulb turned on with such brightness that there was no question that I had been previously walking in some shade. Here was the epiphany: that change- in the beginning- hurts like a mother. In beginning phases of change (whether it's breaking a bad habit, incorporating a new running/training program, changing lifestyle, moving, etc etc), pain is  present. While it is manifested in different ways- physical pain, loneliness, withdrawal, feeling overwhelmed- we are acutely aware of it. But as we keep to it, keep going through the same motions and continue putting one foot in front of the other, the pain lessens. Ironically, we are still doing the same movement as we were in the beginning, but comfort returns. Today's treatment of body buffing/scrubbing/sanding burned as those first few layers of dead skin were removed, but under them was a smoothness that welcomed the buffing without rejection, so much so that momentarily I forgot it was the same treatment.
That is how change works. Discarding of those surface layers throws you into the ring of fire. Lying just beneath, though, is a gift for enduring the pain of change.
I paid for a buff and silky massage and got a philosophical gem for free-- taking advantage of the Wi-Spa BOGO!

view from the backyard of Palisades summer rental


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