Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Chat With Kees

Kees and I were snuggling in bed this morning.

I said, "Only 2 more days of having a 4 year old. I can't believe it."

Then Kees said he was going to marry his daddy when he grows up because daddy wasn't in our family.

I said, "What? He's our daddy. He's in our family."

I think since everyone came out of my belly he thinks that's the only way in to our family. I tried to explain that that's not how it works but there is only so much you can convince a 4, almost 5 year old of. He believes me but is sceptical.

I told him how his daddy and I met and decided to get married. Then we decided we should have some kids.

Kees asked, "Did you have a penny?"

I said, "Yes. Why?"

Kees, "Well because if you have a penny then you are lucky and you will get your wish."

I must have had at least 3 pennies after meeting Bob. And YES, I am lucky and I did get my wish. Actually, lots of wishes and I am still getting my wishes.

Have a great day.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

California Dreamin'

The kids and I are in California in the East Bay. We're staying with our friends the Slacks. I am not sure how they can stand 4 people invading their lives, especially since they are empty nesters and 3/4 of us are under 10.

Our trip down here was fairly uneventful. We left Thursday at 3pm after camp. It was just in time and we missed traffic. We listened to 5 hours of Peter Pan on CD. Even I had a hard time getting through some of the dryer parts. But not one of the kids complained. There was no TV the whole day.

At 9pm we stopped for a bite to eat and time on a play structure. Everyone decided to continue on. Well an hour later everyone was melting down and I made the final decision....Motel 6 for the night. Coulter was disappointed that we were not staying in a place that had room service. Can you say SPOILED? After I thoroughly checked the room for bed bugs....we all went to sleep and slept HARD. We were out by 9 and went to IHOP for breakfast, what a treat.

Once on the road the kids decided to watch a show. But about 30 minutes in the changed their minds, they liked the books on tape better so they could look out the window. I was thrilled. I like the stories but more than that I like the company. Why am I the only one that sees things outside the car....no more!

We arrived in Martinez at 2. The kids immediately changed into their swim suits and I got to work with Nancy getting ready for her art gallery opening the following day. We made 3 salads that were fabulous. Everyone was doing what they wanted. What fun.

Saturday we finished getting ready for the party. At 2 the kids went to the neighbors to play and we went to the gallery. The opening was very successful with about 60 people in and out, maybe more. Afterward Nancy had a party at the house for about 20 people and almost all the salads went. I thought we'd be eating salad all week! We stayed up too late and had a fine time.

Sunday morning we got up and the kids and I decided we'd go into the city. My plan was to go to Golden Gate Park. At 1 there was a concert in the park that I wanted to see and I really was looking forward to having lunch with a friend of mine from 4th and 5th grade, Katie. We found each other on Facebook....go figure. I had passes to the Academy of Science so I was able to get us all in and we went to lunch. We were able to hear the concert during lunch so that was nice. It's hard to really talk with 3 kids running around and having to go potty and all but I was thrilled to see her. We talked, as much as we could, and had a nice time. She and her partner are having a baby early next year so she could have a little glimpse into my world and kids.....

We parted ways and the kids and I explored the Academy of Science. It is amazing. The kids loved it and I loved watching them explore and learn. The best part of the whole thing was the store, or at least that's what the kids thought. They all got a small thing.

We spent a little time walking around the park and then were off to Chinatown. The kids couldn't stand the idea of being in the city and not going to Chinatown. We went to our favorite restaurant and then to the park to play. The kids burned up energy and I planned.

To close out our day we drove down the steep hills. We'd pull upto the "edge" and scream, "IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD" then we'd take the plunge. We did it over and over and laughed the whole time. We made it home by 8:30 and fell into bed.

Today we're taking the BART into the city. We'll take the cable car to Pier 39 to catch the Bay Tour Boat ride. We'll do the Aquarium and probably go to Chinatown again via cable car. Those are always a hit.

We're having fun. More to come.....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Summah...

How is it that it's August? Seriously.... Last year we traveled so much that I swore I wouldn't do as much this year. We've been home more but we've come and gone more. We've had a few one or two night excursions so in my head, we've been coming and going all summer. Next summer I just want to plant it right here. We'll see.

Everything we have done has been fun for sure. We went to Discovery Bay on the Olympic Peninsula, Olympia for my mom's birthday celebration, a camping trip just over night, a week long camping trip split between Whidbey and Camano and next week we're going to San Francisco. Lots of people do lots of stuff in the summer, I think I tend to over do it with the planning. Ask anyone who travels with me. If you need it chances are I have it. It's helpful while you are travelling but it totally sucks me in before. It's all consuming and exhausting, obsessive compulsive if you will. As if we won't make it if I forget the band aids or mustard. I know it's crazy but it's what I do. Maybe I'll let Bob do the packing and I'll just jump in the car next time. It's easy to say but more difficult to do....we'll see.

We went to Whidbey on July 31st and spent 2 nights there. My great friend Colleen Mounsey and her family have a cabin there. On Saturday night we had dinner and partied with the neighbors. It was big fun and best of all, the kids got along. I had a bit of a wild night and paid for it the next day. I did pull off Eggs Benedict the next morning though. Always a big hit. Sunday Colleen, Chris and Matt had to go so our family spent the day swimming, beach combing and just relaxing. It was really fun.

Monday morning we cleaned up and headed to Camano Island where we were meeting our friend Julia and her kids for the rest of the week at Camano Island State Park. We went via Deception Pass. We've been near it 50 times but never though it. It was beautiful. The drive was just a couple hours and through gorgeous scenery. We even made the kids look out the window. They acted as if we were the meanest parents, not letting them watch TV in the car. We gave them the ole, "Oh yeah? Well when I was a kid living in California my parents would say, "Get in the car. We're driving to New York." And we would just get in and count cows." They couldn't have cared less. Too bad, poor babies.

We arrived at our cabin around 5pm and got to work setting up. The cabin was simple...really simple, actually more like a yurt. It did have a small refrigerator and a microwave. That was nice. I, of course, brought everything else because I did my usual planning for every potential possibility. I had 2, 6' tables, a toaster oven, drawers (with napkins, knives, utensils, napkins and condiments), 3 burners, pots, pans, towels and wash cloths etc, etc, etc. We had ourselves a nice little kitchen including a kitchen sink, I used 2 bins so we could have a wash and a rinse side.

Our friends came in at almost 10pm. They started their day in Spokane and had a few stops along the way so it had been a long day. The only bad part for us was that our kids asked, "When will they be here?" for 5 hours. It was brutal. They moved in quickly, we all said our hellos and then crashed for the night.

The next three days were spent hanging out on the beach and playing. The kids all played well together and the adults did too. Bob was a champ. He took all 6 kids to the beach a couple times while Julia and I went to the store for supplies. Like I needed one more damn thing. But on we went....

The kids rode bikes around the camp, the parents cooked and hung out. It was really fun. For whatever reason, my boys wanted to shower or bathe each day. It was funny because I would have Sophia go first and shower while standing in one of our 30+ gallon bins. It would fill up and then the boys would get a bath. They were so cute in there and so happy. How could I deny them that? And for whatever reason, I was feeling the need to baby them and take care of them more than usual so I was the attentive mommy and washed and pj'd them. Daddy cleaned up dinner and around camp.

On the last day we rented a little motor boat at the Center for Wooden Boats at Cama State Park. Julia and I assisted in getting the 7 kids (including Bob) into the boat for a little ride. They were so cute shoving off....all waving and yelling. Off they went for about 40 minutes. When they came back Bob, Kees and I went on a little trip of our own and Kees was the captain. He was quite proud steering the boat.

Then it was time to say our good byes. We loved seeing our buddies and hope to cross paths again soon.

We decided to stop at mom and Ed's place on the way home. Originally we were going to stay one more night but as we all got packing up it seemed like the thing to do to make our way home. The kids wanted to pick blackberries and go in the hot tub. The McGanns were going to visit a friend who lived on Camano.

Our visit with Grandma and Grandpa was short and sweet and then we came home. Honestly, I was really glad to be home and have an entire weekend to unwind and relax. I needed it.

So we're home for the week. The kids all have camp. To be honest, this is the week I have been waiting for all summer. Camp runs from 9 - 3 so I get hours to myself. What have I done....nothing really. A little laundry and blogging today, a doctor's appointment yesterday, catching up with friends, mail, email, bills, Friday I have a lunch date. How is it that 5 hours alone flies by with out much happening but when the kids are home it can be an eternity? I will say making lunch and sitting down by myself has been bliss. I can sit down and finish a whole meal with out anyone wanting anything. It's heaven...it doesn't take much these days.

This upcoming weekend will be spent at home....hallelujah! Sunday we may go to the Sunday Parkways. That is always fun and so, so Portland. But, again, the planning starts.... The kids and I are going to the Bay Area next week. I will say that that trip requires less planning than most. I don't need to bring a kitchen sink or a sleeping bag. We're all looking forward to it a lot. I will bring you all up to date as time goes by.