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

Monday, July 20, 2015

California Dreamin, California Livin

Sometimes it feels good to put some chub on the belly. What that should be more accurately interpreted as is sometimes it feels good to eat what you want, when you want. For better of worse, that's the phase I'm in right now. (Not that that has anything to do with anything…)

Cafe Vida, Katsuya, Westside Tavern, Johnny Rockets Bacon Cheese Fries, Wood Ranch Grill, Banderas, DK donuts...

 We're just in California, living the California life. 

The kids have been playing a lot of tennis, which if we're being honest, makes me giddy. Like, I feel like they've fallen for my secret plot and I'm just in the background with my head thrown bad doing the evil laugh thing. But in reality, there's nothing evil about my strategy. In fact, it's straight goodness. I'm talking about an avenue to achieve lifetime family togetherness. A way for me to relate and interact to my 40-something year old children when I'm in my 60's and 70's. Do you see the genius in my scheming?!!! Back to the part where my kids have been playing a lot of tennis. Deeter and Kaia played a couple times and got over that initial hurdle of taking on something new. Dallin and Porter are easy sells as they love it and have even initiated tennis over other activities, namely surfing. They did get in a couple surf sessions so we can put a check by that bucket list item.

I've been loving the increase in my movie viewings. To date: Love and Mercy; Amy; Me, Earl and the Dying Girl. I enjoyed every single one of those. They've each been more independent type movies and each one has touched me. For me, that's the highest compliment that I can give a movie- that it touches me. Moves me to try to be better, to strive to be more. Or where it evokes enough emotion to bring me to tears. I've missed having some good movies in my life.

The kids have been reacquainting with their people out here and that warms my soul. A lot. Krewz, Zuri, Cal, Owen, Harrison…they've renewed all those relationships. And I've got see all of my people. Do you see how this is necessary and positive and everything else good?

While we're on a roll, let's not forget to mention the beach. We love the beach. Jumping in the waves, playing smash ball, basking in the sun…all of it. We've got to take advantage of quite a few beach days. If the sun's out and shining, we try to take advantage. This is probably a good time to mention that it never disappoints. I've said it before and will probably say it a million times more…Beach life is the best life. Huge fan over here.

And Dodger games. Yosh and I got in two, the kids one. Another LA must do that we done did.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Just this moment in time

I keep opening this space to write and can't focus on any particular subject so end up with nothing more than a blank canvas. Yet, I have so many thoughts going on in my mind that need escape.

One of those is how hard motherhood is. I often don't associate motherhood as being hard because I think I genuinely enjoy it (motherhood). I know it's what I've chosen to dedicate the majority of my time and energy to. Those factors- enjoyment and choice- usually eliminate me thinking of something as hard or work. But when I step back and realize the things I'm trying to accomplish and realize what it requires of me and what I'm able to help my kids accomplish if I focus on that, it's hard work. Because right now I see an anxiety-ridden 6 year old and I know that he can continue on that path without gaining a new skill set or, his mom can step in and stop telling herself that it will all be okay and instead educate herself, learn basic coping mechanisms, then introduce those to her son, be patient with him through many episodes as she teaches them to him allowing them to become viable options and solutions instead of the coping mechanisms he's developed, and then cross her fingers that he learns these skills that he needs to successfully function in life. Right now, that's one of my specific callings. It feels like a lot more than merely keeping my kid fed, cleaned, and stimulated. Yet, there's something intriguing in the challenge, reeling me in with the possibility of helping this kid, MY kid, become something more than he currently is.

I also have a ten-year-old that is going through transformations. He's still a kid and far from a teenager, but is slowly entering the tween territory, evidenced by the new found sass, the defiant NOs, the increased teasing. I feel him fleeting, slipping through my fingers and while I know it's natural and expected and that he's still a good kid, I'm rejecting the change. He's getting on my nerves more and I'm missing the kid of yesterday. While I can still depend on him for sooooo many things, I miss not being able to depend on him all the time for all the things. I know, selfish of me.

On the flip side, I'm like a teenage girl filled with endorphins as another relationship develops. I have a new homey in the house and have for awhile. His name is Porter. We get along like two peas in a pod. It's so refreshing and to be honest it feels just as fleeting as my relationship with Dallin because it wasn't long ago that we couldn't get along to save our lives. So sometimes I feel like I'm holding my breath waiting for this honeymoon stage to end. But more than anything, I just truly feel grateful and value it because I've worked so hard for it. Porter has been a child that, by merely being himself, has given me reason to grow, bend, learn, and change. And I've really tried to do all those things in an effort to be a better mom, a better person. To be able to feel, see, and experience the fruits of that work is rewarding. As I'm typing this, it's giving me new inspiration to attack the other challenges I just wrote out. I want to feel the rewards from working through and with my other kids as well.

(As a side note, two of the biggest sources in helping me relate with/mother Porter better: 1) the book How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and How to Listen so Your Kids will talk and 2) the principle of letting Porter be himself as I accept myself for who/how I am and distancing my emotions when dealing with him in disciplinary situations)

Right now I'm in California alone with the kids. The trip thus far has been great. We're two weeks in with about 4 to go. Yosh has been able to pop in on the weekends and I've also found a babysitter to help me out as needed. All in all though, it's been a lot of me doing the kids. I feel like this kind of situation is such a good grind for me. We (maybe just I) go through all the realms of emotion- happy, sad, fun, frustrated, angry, etc- and there's something about doing it alone that shocks me into a sense of reality. One, that all these emotions are present and necessary. Two, it teaches me to accept the roller coaster ride of them and not stay in the negative ones too long. There's no Yosh rolling in at 7:00 to play with the kids and pull me out of a funk if I'm in one, there's no change of dynamic as he walks through the door, there's no divide and conquer when it's an especially hard night time routine. It's me digging deep and finding different ways to hold it together. While I much prefer us being a family of 6, I really appreciate these times when it's me and the kids and I'm asked to be more than I am without him by my side. It's a good forum to challenge me in my role and also alone gives me the opportunity and takes away excuses for me to accomplish the things that I want. If I want to do something, there's no reason not to. I don't know if that exactly makes sense. I hope down the road when I'm reading this that I can decipher what the heck I'm talking about!

Finally, all in all, I love my family. Those emotions are deep and very heart felt within me. While I love traveling and doing fun things with my family, what's most important to me is who we are all becoming, not what we are doing. I really am trying to use our lifestyle- the things we do naturally as a family and individuals, whether it be traveling, sports, etc- as avenues to develop character, to everyday try hard and progress a little bit towards a better version of us.

I feel like this is a good time to end this post! I might go getting all kinds of sappy and vulnerable and writing crazy stuff that could make me vomit later! But I'll end with some family pics because these illustrate my true feelings.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

You know things are bad when….

…sugar cookies get a post of their own.
Like, how is it that completely different events (and some non-events if we're being honest) are categorized together because the singular common denominator is…I made sugar cookies for it.

Let's get started.
So there's this girl, The Alison Show, (quick interruption…how cool is it to be The _____. If I ever have the privilege of being referred to as The Gabrielle ((as opposed to The Gay?)), I will be very pleased with my life)… Back to The Alison Show. I'd been seeing these cookies on her Instagram feed for a while and finally I took the bite. I officially crossed the threshold to "Baking Nerd" when I bought the tutorial to learn how to make these bad boys. It was the Valentine conversation heart cookies that sealed the deal for me.

I watched and read and got to baking. 
The best part in the making of these cookies was texting with Anneli, Chelsi, Laura, and Kady to come up with the words.
Pure comedy.
I wish I had screen shotted (<---what the heck, weirdest word ever) the convo.
The second best part of these cookies is that they had no real purpose. I mean, I wasn't making them for anyone's class or anything. I just thought it would be fun(ny). We did deliver a few to some neighbors. The boys definitely picked out their favorites to have at lunch and show their friends. But that was about as far-reaching as the purpose got.

We (The Creative Team) also thought it would be hilarious if we limited the rest of the communicating to cookies. Which would bring this cookie into play quite often...

Okay, I'm done, I'll stop because I'm already giggling to myself again as I type this and I have a feeling this whole exchange falls into the category of "inside joke" which means no one is amused by this besides me!
(y'all are missing out, fyi!)

I then made cookies for a few people's birthday celebrations with witty words on them. 
Below is for a 40th birthday party.

On to the next.
Did I mention that I got called as Cub Master at Church?
Well, I did. And my first event was the Pinewood Derby.
In all honesty, that really was such a great event to break me into the calling.
The boys were bound to love it as it's (almost) every boys' dream to race cars.
Outside of logistical planning for the derby, I only did one personal cutesy touch…
Racecar Sugar Cookies duh!

The night was a total success, no thanks to the cookies, but I have to throw that in for recording purposes. I wish we could do Pinewood Derby like 5x a year. Next year, my boys will get more say in their car and we'll start it with more than a 2 day heads up. There's a learning curve in everything and this wasn't an exception for us!

Lastly was Deeter's sending forth party. His preschool class is on to Kindergarten next year and we had to celebrate that! The party was held at my house and I deemed it necessary for the kids to have a cookie with their name on it! They were adorable. Not witty at all, but adorable still the same.

So there you have it, 4 totally unrelated events brought together by sugar cookies. 
Definitely a happy ending.


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