Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Just another summer night

We've spent a fair amount of the summer in our yard.  Between the garden and pool, the kids have found countless ways to entertain themselves.  Last Thursday night was like any other; first tending to the garden, then slowly migrating toward the pool.  Between the warm air, perfect light and happy kids, I just had to sneak in the house to grab my camera.

I will certainly miss these warm summer nights.  I mean, how can you beat swimming until 8:30pm?  And while we're asking questions, how is it possible that school starts in one week?  Ahh!!  It goes too fast!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Two pairs!"

Today was a pretty good day.  No plans really; nothing pressing; just time spent with my kids.  The weather was mild with temps in the low 80s and a lovely afternoon breeze.  Neil was out the door, headed to Sacramento by 6.  Ryan was in my room by 7, announcing he had stayed dry all night and would be receiving a star on his chart as a result.  He then crawled into bed with me and, to my surprise, fell asleep for another two and a half hours.  Both he and Chloe slept well past 9.  Apparently their six hour play date with friends yesterday wore them out big time.  Chloe got up first and the two of us headed out to the garden to check on our onions.  Ryan got up shortly thereafter and met us outside.  Then we came in and they each ate a slice of zucchini bread for breakfast.  The rest of the morning consisted of playing with legos, taking baths, practicing piano and some other miscellaneous things.  There was bickering, but it was minimal, which was a nice change.  Around lunch time, we headed to the park.  After that, it was onto the library to finish our daily outing.  We love the library.  I didn't start taking the kids there regularly until just recently and that makes me sad.  Why I wasn't taking Chloe from the time she was a toddler I haven't a clue.  I guess it just never really occurred to me.  But now that both of the kids are a little older, I suppose it's more manageable and meaningful.  Since school let out at the end of May, we've made a habit of going every couple of weeks.  We sit together and sift through potential books to check out, read a few out loud, and then each kiddo grabs a basket and fills it with some new favorites to take home.  The limit is 25 books, and today, we checked out exactly that.

This evening during dinner, I informed the kids that their dad would read them some of their new books before bed if they were good.  Chloe then asked Neil if they could each choose two books.  Neil nodded, then presented Ryan with the following question:

"Ryan, if Chloe chooses two books to read and if you choose two books to read, how many books will we read total?"

Chloe immediately raised her hand, eager to answer, but Neil shushed her and repeated the question for Ryan.  Ryan thought for a few seconds, then replied, "Two pairs!"

We chuckled.  Even though technically the answer Neil was looking for was "four," Ryan did answer the question correctly.  How he came up with "two pairs" I haven't a clue, but it sure took some creative thinking.  When Neil asked Ryan a third time, now holding up two fingers and then two more, he got it.  Although I'm sure it helped immensely that Chloe piped in with, "I'll give you a hint, Ryan!  It starts with "f" and ends with "our." 

During the remainder of dinner and before I had to go to YW, the kids happily yakked away about various things between taking bites of their chicken parmesan, which Chloe told me was "delish."  Their voices overlapped most of the time and much of what they said was silly and irrelevant, but they were each precious and endearing, pure and sweet, and at one point I put my fork down, sat back and just watched them with a smile on my face.  I love their enthusiastic little spirits.  I love their zest for life.  I love their bright and cheerful personalities.  I love their blue eyes.  I love how much they love me, how they rely on me, and how eager they are to share with me everything that matters to them.  I love that they won't let me leave them without a hug and a kiss, and how they wave goodbye to me through the kitchen door as I back out of the garage.  I love that they care about my feelings and opinions, and that when they do something that makes me sad, they too feel sad.  It isn't necessarily frequent that I just adore everything about motherhood, but today I enjoyed many good, healthy moments, and I just had to write about them here.  I was conversing with a friend this morning (while the kids still slept), and mentioned at one point how I sometimes wish I could take a blissful moment and trap it in a jar, only to be opened for a quick whiff when I need a boost.  Today was one of those days I could have easily captured and placed in a jar for a rainy day.  I really do love the life God gave me, as challenging as it sometimes is, and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Oh, and I do believe that from this point forward, I will be referring to four as "two pairs."  :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chloe's first lost tooth!

On the 1st of May, Chloe had her 6-month teeth cleaning appointment, during which Dr. Shah showed Chloe an x-ray of her teeth.  These particular x-rays were really cool in that you could see one of her adult teeth sitting directly beneath her baby tooth.  Dr. Shah told Chloe that, based on this x-ray, it wouldn't be long before the baby tooth fell out, making way for the adult tooth.  Chloe was fascinated with this concept.  Several of her friends at school had already started losing teeth, and she had been asking for months when it was going to be her turn.  Now there was light at the end of the tunnel.  Upon leaving Dr. Shah's office that day, Chloe proceeded to announce to all who would hear her that she had an "almost loose tooth."  :)

Sometime between the night of June 24th and morning of June 25th, Chloe's tooth went from being "almost loose" to "loose."  She was thrilled to make this discovery, and spent a good part of the day sitting in front of the bathroom mirror wiggling said tooth back and forth.
Well, Sunday (the 8th) is when the monumental event finally took place.  As I was awakening from an afternoon nap (a rarity these days, but certainly one I earned after staying up late the night before preparing a church talk and then delivering it that morning), Neil came into our bedroom and said, "Looks like the tooth fairy will be making her first visit to our house tonight."  Apparently Chloe's tooth wasn't just loose, but barely hanging on.  In fact, we worried that she might lose it in her dinner, so Neil offered to pull it out before we ate.  Surprisingly, Chloe was happy to let him.  After all, this had been a long time comin', and she wasn't going to allow fear to stand in her way!
With little to no effort, Neil gave the tooth a gentle tug and out it came.  Chloe proudly held it in her hand, then ran to the nearest mirror to admire her new grin.
Sunday night she placed her tooth inside a ziploc bag and under her pillow.  The following morning, she was delighted to find, in its place, a dollar and a First Lost Tooth certificate.

She was and is still quite proud.  And she looks oh-so-cute with that little gap in her mouth.  Won't be long before there are plenty more.  The other night I asked her if she'd please stop growing, to which she defiantly replied, "But I HAVE to!  That's what we do!"  Love her.  Congrats, little miss!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Then and now

Today marks 1 month since our second attempt at a garden.  Read about our many adventures here.

It's crazy what California soil can do in a month's time.
Needless to say, we are not lacking in the growth department.  Zucchini is on the far left (left bed), then watermelon, then pumpkin and finally, cucumbers.  The cucumbers take a bit longer to establish themselves, but in another month the entire bed will be overflowing.  My tomatoes and basil have gone nuts, as well, and we have more jalapenos and anaheims than we know what to do with.

I also spotted our first zucchini yesterday, and look forward to many more in the coming weeks.

Tomorrow I am going to finish planting the ground cover around the second bed.   Then it's just a matter of waiting for production, and enjoying the view in the meantime.  Man, oh man, I love gardening!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July mini shoot

A couple weeks ago, I tagged along with my friend, Misty to this awesome patriotic wall in Escalon so she could scope out the morning light for some upcoming mini sessions she had scheduled, and also to take some pictures of Lorilee's kiddos.  While there, I snapped some pictures myself.

Here's Chloe with her little friends, Dylen and Sydney.  I am really sad that Brooklyn and Nikell are not in these pictures, but they were in Utah at the time.  :(  I can't say enough how grateful I am for Chloe's friends.  I think it's every mother's wish that her children have good friends, and my wish has, no doubt, been granted.  They are all such sweet girls - every one of them! - and they've built some fun memories together.  I still need to share pictures from their ballet recital in May!

Left to right: Ryan, Chloe, Dylen, Ryder, Caleb, Ethan, Max, Sydney, and Ashley 

My favorite  :)

"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." -Harry S. Truman

The festivities of the July 4th are fun and all, but like any holiday, it's sometimes easy to lose sight of what we're really celebrating. I am grateful for those courageous souls from centuries ago who fought for the freedoms I enjoy today, and for those who continue to make great sacrifices to maintain those freedoms. 

To those individuals, thank you!  And to America, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!