August 27, 2011

Like and Learning to Love...

Lately I have found myself wanting to "like" it all. Photos of family vacations, first days of school, babies reaching milestones, retirements, marathons, recitals, new puppies, kitties, fresh veggies from the garden and all the other beautiful things that make up life, I like it.

Facebook has forever changed the way we view this little word - Like. Every now and then a little surge of the Facebook population starts to clamor for a "dislike" button, but it hasn't happened yet. Why do you think that is? I "like" to think that if someone experiences something that deserves a "dislike" your only option is to make the more personal "comment." A "comment" a little more time consuming and it takes a pause, so when someone needs you most, they can read your words of encouragement, empathy, hopefulness or concern.

Some may argue that using the internet for this type of communication isn't very personal or private. However, coming from someone who isn't down the street from my family, it sure beats the absence of sharing those little wonderful bits and pieces of life with others.  Whether those bits and pieces are beautiful or something more difficult, both can remind us of how precious simple things can be.

Some simple things from the past two weeks, that I like and some things that I am learning to love...

Family movie night, with a table of goodies laid out by my children, who were almost as into the movie, as laying out the snack table. I suppose too much Food Network is to blame for this attention to detail.

Recycling our broken crayons.

Camping trips to the beach.

Sleepy Bear, somehow he managed to stay awake for late night crabbing on the beach.

Although we previously planned on establishing a bed time routine the week of the beach trip, how do you go to bed early and miss this full moon over the ocean?

Isn't this guy a cutie? Look at those eyes. The discarded shell on the left is what they come out of the water hunting for. There were hundreds of them running on the beach and they would freeze when you put the flashlight on them. The kids had a blast, they were shrieking, laughing and running up and down the beach.

Long exposure of the moon, Drew ran through the frame, you can see his shadow on the left.


Behind the sand dunes.

Just waking up.

First catch of the day, tiny little fish in Bear's net.

Jelly fish that brushed up against Ava.

Cute boys.

We came back to town just in time for meet the teacher at the kid's school. I like it, the kids love the decor and it has a huge science lab that Drew was fascinated by. This is Drew's hallway.

The library.

I like when Bear thinks that Drew is super cool. Bear was giving high fives for every cannonball as Drew exited the pool.

I like this sweet girl who made Ava feel right at home, the week we moved in.

On week two she presented the heart necklace that is two pieces that make a whole. And Drewsky dude, I like you buddy and your patience with your sister and her endless stream of BFF's. You turn is coming baby.

First day of school. I like this photo, the one before the posed one. Where Bear works himself up to saying good bye to his BFF.

I like the walk to school. See Dad, trees!! It's safe to visit :)

I like that he isn't embarrassed to hug his sister yet and I like that the school called an hour after I got home to double check that Ava knew she was supposed to ride the bus. Drew was worried she didn't know what to do after school and told his teacher when they were reviewing bus procedures.

Ok, this is the hard part, where it shifts from like to learning to love. A new stage for our family, not bad just different. I am learning to love that I had only one hand to hold on the way out of school. We grieved over donuts and chocolate milk. Because it's not appropriate to drink at 8:30 in the morning with a three year old. Bear needed a donut as much as I did, asking about 30 minutes into our adventure if their school work was finished yet.

Learning to love the ritual of the bus stop, letting go of the control of driving them myself and letting them enjoy the ride.

Learning to love the early morning routine again, Bear is without a shirt because he pretty much refuses to miss the bus no matter what he is wearing.

And finally learning to love myself, just as I am. So when my daughter turns the table and asks to take a photo of me, there is no hesitation. No, I don't look good, I don't have lipstick on, my hair is a mess, we have been camping on the beach for two days.... Because let's face it, this is her moment to capture and all that stuff on the outside doesn't really matter to her and it shouldn't matter to me.

There are a lot of outside physical things that I can pick on about myself that I don't like. We all do that, to ourselves. My dad always said to cultivate the person of the heart. That's where my focus should be, less on the physical and more on what qualities about myself that I can control. It struck me a week ago when Ava was worrying about her hair, I know that worry came from my example. I am learning to pick less on myself for my children, building up qualities that will not fade with time, for my daughter, because I think she is amazing, just the way she is. She is full of whimsy, play, dance, love and adventure and none of those qualities have to do with physical appearance.

Like as much as you can this weekend and learn to love the rest :)
Peace out and have a great weekend, as Drew's awesome 3rd Grade Teacher says!

August 12, 2011

Pause Button

Many times I have talked to friends and family about wishing we had a "Pause Button." For the moments we are together with family, for our children, for those nights when the air is perfect and you have nothing to do but sit and enjoy it. I know Heather and I have talked about it on more than one occasion, and I wish I had a pause button for some of those conversations too. As we are rapidly approaching the first day of school, I am starting to get that nervous, homesick, feeling I used to get as a little girl. We registered at school yesterday and the very sweet woman at the desk exclaimed, "kind of feels like you are signing them over to us doesn't it?" Ummm, yeah, heart in throat... They are going to love it, I know they will. Ava is convinced it is not necessary for me to drive her the first day, she wants to ride the bus. I told her I needed to take pictures of her first day and walk her to the classroom. In response I get, "mom, you can just drive to school and meet me there." I don't think so baby, I need to use that pause button right about now.

So I suppose, this is a big reason I tote a camera with me to restaurants, to the grocery store, swimming, on walks, it's my way of pausing a moment in time. I am not good at scrapbooking and my baby books are a fail, but we will have photos. I am ever so thankful to my husband who is very patient with my addiction, pointing out opportunities for good photos when I miss them, never complaining about our constant digital companion and even coaxing me into a few pictures, so I don't have a motherless album for my children. I love it when he sits at the computer listening to music and watching a slideshow of our life. 

Some moments from the past week or two that deserve a pause...

We are having these little pop-up rain showers that I love. The air gets really humid and then all of a sudden under a pretty bright sky, dotted with puffy clouds, it's starts raining. It rained while Drew was playing basketball after dinner, the air was still warm, so play continued.

Check this little beauty out that showed up afterwards.

Happy Anniversary to me :) 12 roses for 12 years. Flowers by Nino, a florist that they use at Jeremy's work, his designs are really beautiful.

Homemade play-doh, so simple and keeps them entertained for hours. Drew loves making cake creations.

Impromptu fishing trips to the lake, in our neighborhood. We caught one fish and a very large fish caught Bear's fishing pole. The fish took off and dragged the pole in the water. We never did find the pole, so it really was the one that got away. I heard Bear crying from around the corner, I was fishing with Drew and I thought they had an accident. Jeremy, Ava and Bear came running around the corner. Bear sobbing says, "my pole is gone." So long Buzz Lightyear fishing pole, we had some good times.

We visited the Discovery Garden for story time in downtown Houston, with surprise guest Diego!
If Drew looks less than thrilled to be standing with Diego, it was because, he was, less than thrilled. He did it so Bear would have enough confidence to go up, makes me proud.

Diego brought along some animal friends and Bear was very excited. My boy loves ears and really who has better ears than a rabbit?? I think he would have stayed all day.

You know what I love? Those dimples on the back of their hands, wish they lasted forever.

They have some fun buildings at the Discovery Garden... curious boys.

It was warm so we had to find some ways to beat the heat.

Speaking of beating the heat... We have a neighborhood spray park that is just around the corner and the kids love it. They run and scream and Ava makes best friends in about 5 minutes.

See! Just add water, instant best friend...

Drew and Jeremy throwing the football after dinner.

Getting down the hill, in a way that I did not approve. Kind of looks fun though, doesn't it? So while I worried about misplaced rocks and bug bites, they had a blast.

Italian Ice, how do I love thee, let me count the ways... Our new Rita's Italian Ice Store in the Meadows had their grand opening this week and the first 100 people in line received free italian ice for a year! We love Rita's, this addiction fueled by a week long event when they first opened, where they gave away free ice, every day, for 5 days, we may have been there every night after dinner :) oh and because Rita's is just that good. On the morning of the grand opening we didn't get there until about 11:00 a.m. and they opened at 12:00 p.m. but, an hour is a long time to wait for the "chance" to get free ice, with three kids, on a 100 degree day. Drew counted the line at least 10 times and was pretty sure we were not in the first 100, comprised mostly of 15-18 year olds that camped out all night. He was right, we missed it by about 20 people but hey, we gave it a shot. We had a great time despite the fact that we didn't win, free ice for everybody in line, balloons and temporary tattoos, whoohoo!

We had a few samples before we made it in the store. Bear was wearing most of his, he had a pink tummy by noon. 

Ok, I will take three please!

Bear's favorite is Alex's Lemonade - awesome flavor for a great cause. You can read more about Alex's Lemonade Stand at

Drew informed me he was clearly too big for posing with a giant Italian Ice Guy, ok, but not too big for balloon animals.

And finally, the "Duel" or "Dual"

Drew flies down the stairs to announce that he and Jackson are going to do a "Duel" performance. To which I shout back... No fighting boys! When they tell me to come in because they are ready, I am prepared to negotiate a sword fight between an eight year old and a three year old. I am heavy footed because I already said, no fighting. I round the corner and see this... a dual performance or two boys in a T-shirt.

See how handy that pause button would be??

We are headed into a long weekend minus daddy so we are really looking forward to Tuesday! Thinking of my nieces starting school next week, Payton, Celes and Emma the week after. My heart is with your mommies too.  I am wondering how it is possible that you are old enough to be going to Kindergarten and preschool. Seems like yesterday Emma was running around the basement with her big blue eyes and cute little grin. Payton you were the sweetest little sleeper, sometimes with a thumb in your mouth and a finger over your nose, so peaceful with your wispy curls. Celes, the explorer, Dora has nothing on you girl. Celes, you are full of adventure and your little walk, that has so much attitude, can't get enough of it. And my own Miss Ava Raye, I was going to write a little about the subject of having a daughter, but I will save that for another day. Pause and have a great weekend.