Thursday, October 22, 2015

my favorite and my best.

i know these are way late.  it's almost halloween, but for posterity purposes, here are some pictures of our glorious summer at the guest house.  our house is now done and we have recently moved back in.  it's a little bittersweet leaving the guest house.....although it is nice to have our own place again, you can't really complain about waking up to the view of that huge grass yard and the afternoon swims in the pool.  i didn't actually ask my kids for a list, but here is my best guess of their top things they will miss from the guest house:
  • the yard.  and more importantly, the sport options in the yard.  football, soccer, home run derby, etc.  finn will also miss "wandering the yard".  but we won't miss the random sticks and rocks that end up in the house as treasures he wants to keep forever
  • the view.  nice work jon martens.  the view from the great room of the guest house into the yard is amazing.  we rearranged the furniture when we moved in to allow room for some of our stuff, and so we placed a couch under the big window.  it was definitely a favorite spot for everyone to read, do homework, etc.
  • gg and grandad.  dot routinely would watch for granddad on the back patio and then request to go hang out with him.  she loves hanging out on the back patio.  i also didn't mind the easy access to one of my favorite sport watching venues....
  • irrigation.  such a novelty every time.  especially when you find fish and can "save them" by running with them on a shovel to throw them into the pond
  • walks.  emily and i loved walking through the neighborhood and to the biltmore for happy hour tacos.  or to pizzeria bianco with friend for dinner.  we love places that are walkable.  we have been fortunate at our house to have places to walk to, so it was fun to find new places to walk to from the guest house
  • the kids room.  although it seemed cramped as a family, the kids never complained about living with 4 in one room.  they actually loved it.  i think (or at least i hope) it helped them bond.
  • the tree house.  everyone loves a tree house.  especially going to mass upstairs in the tree house with fr. jack and altar server finn.  except when the lector starts disrespectful.....but seriously, how do you not laugh when one of the prayers of the faithful is, "so that the new avengers movie is not rated R....we pray to the Lord".  i am pretty sure the Lord has other more pressing things on his agenda.
  • i am sure i am missing other memories, but at least i jotted down a few.  
i am pretty sure finn could swim all day if we let him

grandma dot never liked going under or getting her hair wet.
but she did enjoy playing in her own little world on the steps.

hours were spent coming up with different basketball trick shots...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"rites and ceremonies" & "discoveries and revelations"

for the past five or six summers, i have read "dandelion wine" by ray bradbury.  it is one of BAABEEe's favorite books, and since i read it for the first time in balboa, i have loved it.....especially reading it at the beach.  it is a story of summer....or stories of summer.....stories of being a young boy without a care in the world other than what the hell to do that day.  it is based on multiple summers of ray bradbury's life and all the little stories he remembers.  some are sad, some are funny, and some crazy, but they all are things that clearly impacted ray bradbury's life and he will never forget.

instead of thinking of what those same stories have been in my life, i like to think of what they may be for my kids.  which is why i like reading it in balboa, because my kids LOVE going to balboa.  they love the beach - but who doesn't....actually, i bet the old lady in goonies didn't like the beach - she just seemed so grumpy, and nobody that looks like that could like the beach.  but then again, she probably didn't like anything.  seriously, what do you think her two sons (and sloth) would get her for her birthday?  i bet they got her a few boxes of kraft macaroni and cheese, cause i don't care how grumpy you are, you still probably like kraft macaroni and cheese.  unless you are lactose intolerant.  in which case, maybe that is why she was so grumpy.....but i bet not.  anyway, back to the beach and balboa.  my kids love it.  and one of the main reasons they love it is because they love summer, just like bradbury.  they love swimming and no school and freedom.  they love the nothingness that summer brings.  and even while loving nothingness, they love the prospect of what summer might bring.  the anticipation of "what will we do today".  who knows, and who cares, cause we are going to love it whatever it is.

this leads me to one of my favorite parts of dandelion wine.  bradbury's character douglas spaulding starts his summer by recording on a tablet two categories - "rites and ceremonies" and "discoveries and revelations".  the rites and ceremonies are things that he does every summer.  things he HAS to do every summer.  things that define summer for him as a boy.  and then his discoveries and revelations are things he does for the first time....or things he thinks about for the first time while pondering of rites and ceremonies.  my kids definitely have their rites and ceremonies - almost obnoxiously so:

if i were to do as douglas spaulding does, i could say "RITE - every summer my kids read harry potter - starting with book 1 and reading up to the point you are allowed to read to per mom's rules.  which means by the time you have read book 7, you have read book 1 seven times....REVELATION - by the time they finish the 7th book, they will have read 14,752 pages of harry potter books".  or another example would be, "CEREMONY - donuts at night....mmmm, they are so good at night....DISCOVERY - sliding on a board in irrigation is really fun".

certainly i could come up with more, but i want my kids to think it through.  but every summer i think i am going to make them create a discoveries and revelations list as well as their ceremonial "summer list", but every summer i forget.  and here we are again - school has just started and not only did we not complete our summer list, but we most definitely did not remember to document our discoveries and revelations.  and it is not something you can do after the fact.  it has to be done during summer.  so....hopefully next summer i can remember.

and this brings me to my final thought in this rambling post that probably won't make sense to even me in a few years.....i love my kids rites and ceremonies.  i think this is why i love dandelion wine so much too.  although some of his rites are so different and/or dated, like gathering fox grapes, they can be easily transformed into our time and place (phoenix or balboa), like gathering citrus or seashells.  and they make my kids appreciate and love the simple things....because the simple things are often the most enjoyable....and they allow for even more appreciation of the non-simple things ("what will we do today").  i may make fun of the "summer list", but i love it.

and in case anyone was wondering, our "summer list" this year was mostly created by finn.  he took it very seriously.  so if you looked closely at it and noticed "make a joke book" - it is still in production by finn.  and although it may not be appropriate for all ages (thanks johnny), it will be ready for distribution by christmas in case anyone wants to place a pre-order now.  

Friday, August 14, 2015

oh dot....

i told emily awhile ago that i would start blogging for her to keep a record of funny kid stuff....obviously that didn't happen.  so here we go attempted restart of the blog, but mostly just so we can eventually make another blog book and have something for our kids to read later and laugh at how ridiculous, cute, chubby, dumb, hilarious, loud, combative, and loving they were.

so....with that said, i feel like dot has got the short end of the blog stories, and no offense to our other kids, but she has so many damn funny stories that i just can't get enough.  i literally laugh just thinking about how crazy she is....not just funny crazy, kind of "bag lady" crazy sometimes.  but since i am so behind in my blogging, i am going to do a long, bullet point style "dot post".

"look, i'm anchovy"
  • jumpy jams / tick-tock jumpy jams - dot is excellent at making things up.  especially names of people, things, etc.  and since she is extremely stubborn (and suspicious), if you ask her what she is doing, she will HAVE to come up with a name for it.  hence the origination of jumpy jams.  she stands in our bed and jumps up and lands on her butt.  and for some reason, she decided that it was called jumpy lots of mornings she says, "want to see jumpy jams?"  sure dot....why not.  however, one day she randomly stood up and instead of jumping she fell face first into a pillow.  "what was that?" i asked.  dot replied, oh so confidently, "that is called tick-tock jumpy jams."  right.....whatever old lady.  
  • dot sleeping with us - considering i am on the topic of jumpy jams and dot sleeping and waking in our bed, it is a good segue into how much i love her sleeping / kicking / slapping / rolling next to me.  we have let all our kids sleep with us, and they have all been great, but there is something about dot's ridiculous personality that i love falling asleep with and waking up with.  she loves watching "previews" with me on the i-pad before bed (admittedly i might let her watch some stuff she shouldn't).  she loves watching alias (also which she shouldn't be allowed to watch), but she just calls it "sidney" (the main character's name).  so at night when she knows we are going to watch an episode, she sings, "it's....SIDNEY time!!!"  and she loves waking up and denying that she snuggled with me.  she stubbornly refuses to believe she ever snuggled with me and she ONLY snuggles with mom.  so i had emily take a picture of us one morning to prove to her that she does, in fact, snuggle with me at night.  she HATES being proven wrong....and actually still denies it happened because she is that stubborn (and almost rude....actually not almost, she is basically just rude).  dot has slept a handful of nights in her own bed, but i have to admit, i don't force her into her own bed, cause i kind of miss her.  i was actually kind of sad thinking about her having to pull a wendy and "leave the nursery / our bed".  even with her rude, stubborn ways, i love her sleeping next to me.  stupid growing....i hate it.....

    snuggling proof.

  • dot's stubborn ways - all kids are stubborn.  and burches maybe even more so (i.e. scrub and his jellyfish argument).  but dot takes it to an almost comical level.  just a couple days ago, i sang to martha, "roundy go, roundy go, goes the little mouse...1 step...2 the little house".  dot adamantly told me it ends, "all the way home....NOT in the little house".  i tried to tell her she was confusing it with "this little piggy"....i tried to explain how house and mouse rhyme....i tried to just tell her she is wrong.  she wasn't buying it.  as our argument was at an impasse, granddad came out to see us.  so....i thought it would be funny to have him continue the argument for me.  i told him her position (which she reiterated as well a few times).  then granddad took over.  he tried to reason with her.  he also tried the "but it doesn't rhyme!!!" argument to no avail.  finally, dot just looked seriously at granddad making some pretty solid, logical points and probably knew she was beat, so she said (while pressing on her fingers with her index finger like a little annoyed adult), "second of all.....i don't like your argument....and third of all.....i just don't like your argument".  granddad of course then tried to explain to her that you can't have a "second of all" without a "first of all", and you definitely can't have a "third of all" if it is the same as the "second of all".  as you can imagine, he wasn't too convincing to dot.  i seriously wish i could have recorded this discussion, because i was literally crying laughing at the intensity of this argument that was clearly going nowhere.  
  • dot's friends - dot has many friends.  i will quickly list them with their brief description on what we know of them.  keep in mind, these are all her own made up friends that "visit" us often.  and she has to constantly reprimand them / the air while they are over our house.  lots of talking to blank space with a stern look on her face while saying, "no....i said NO, WE CAN'T DO THAT RIGHT NOW".  remember, i said she was "bag lady" crazy sometimes.  
    • banna and emmy - usually banna and emmy stop by together.  from what i have gathered, banna is kind of a diva and has quite the attitude.  when asked why banna was so naughty dot replied, "because her mom taught her naughty manners."  like i said, this girl has an answer for everything.  but emmy is much nicer and seems to play well with everyone.  both banna and emmy have blue hair and their ears pierced.  that is about all i know of their invisible looks
    • joy vocada / alice beckett / sleeping beauty - all three of these "strong" women are serious america ninja warrior competitors.  not sure how sleeping beauty got in the mix, but apparently she has been training in the woods for the warped wall.  they take turns climbing couches, jumping from pillow to pillow, and completing the america ninja warrior course and then celebrating.  as far as looks, i only know that joy vocada has green hair and wears a blue dress.  i only know that because dot was given joy vocada recently during charades, and she actually looked at the kids and started describing her, "she had green hair....she wears a blue dress....."  as you can expect, they were thoroughly confused because she didn't understand that we don't have the "bag lady" visual of her america ninja warrior competitors.  they finally caught on when she added, "oh, and she's really good at america ninja warrior."  alice beckett, i believe, has "blondish hair and always wears a headband."  and, we all know what sleeping beauty looks like.
    • blobbly and plopply - i think they are movie stars or something.  i don't know.  she just references them occasionally
    • sally and manda - they are definitely movie stars.  in fact, they are best known for their acclaimed role in "turkey ham" (which happens to be the name of the movie that dot says they are in....and if you ask her to get "turkey ham" off the shelf, she will get "willow"....."willow" is "turkey ham" and vice versa in our family).  also, "turkey ham" is a musical with lots of dramatic songs.  but the main song is about 14 minutes long, and has one verse over and over.  it goes like this (picture dot singing very dramatically with lots of hand motions), "who am i....take my hand.....follow me......FOLLOW ME".  14 minutes.  easily 14 minutes.  it's really good.  and sally and manda are amazing in it.  in fact, if you have never seen "turkey ham", you are welcome to watch it on an invisible screen in dot's house (under a sheet on our bed).  oh, there is also a singing bear in the movie who has a big musical number, but i don't remember how that one went...

      just acting out a few choice scenes from the critically acclaimed "turkey ham"

    • i know she has more friends, but i just can't remember them all.  when we swim at gg and granddad's, she usually walks around by the steps hanging out with her friends.  but it looks like she is just talking to the lantern.  so i have joked with her about just talking to the lantern.  yesterday i asked her if she wanted to go swimming and she said, "no, but i will come and and just talk to that light for a little bit".
  • dot's words - i remember a post i did on lucy years ago about her made up words (gramote / remote).  dot has some pretty good ones too:
    • crash can - dot is always willing to help throw stuff away in the crash can
    • canuzzi - dot's word for the jacuzzi 
    • themchother - one of my favorites.  i think it means "each other" or maybe "one or the other", but i am actually not really sure.  i will try to use it in a sentence, but i am pretty sure you can use it however you want: "i asked anchovy to read a book, but he and bluey flash just want to play with themchother"
    • stinky snow globe - jack's nickname
    • bluey flash - lucy's nickname
    • anchovy - finn's nickname
    • todd - dot's self given nickname
    • zu-zu - martha's nickname
getting in some good cousin time in the canuzzi

the only nicknames that have really stuck are todd and anchovy....and hopefully emily will do a a "todd and anchovy" post next.  

ok, i think i should stop for now.  i might even get bored re-reading this at a later point in my life.  too long, i know....but when you get in the groove of blogging, you just need to get it all out for posterity's sake.  

hopefully i can add a few more stories on a more regular basis so i don't need to write a thesis once a year.

crazy bag lady.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

balboa adventure {part IV}

and no trip would be complete without riding the ferry over to the peninsula and eating at ruby's :)