Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Man I Married

At the end of this week, Tyson will have worked 10 'doubles' in 12 days. A 'double' is a 16 hour day. Some were forced, some were swaps so he could get this weekend off to spend with us in Santa Barbara, and some were scheduled overtimes. Regardless, we have missed him!

Dawson started asking about his Dad at bedtime last night and wondering when they would get to hang out again. When he was little, a few nights of not seeing Dad just translated into acting out and being extra naughty for him, which made for one cranky Mom. It was a strange milestone to have him be able to say he missed his dad and ask when he would see him, and for me to be able to explain that he was working hard to earn some extra time with us, and he would be home in 2 days.

When I tucked Anabelle in, she was also uneasy. This is my kid that will sleep any time, any where, any time you tell her to. She NEVER has trouble falling asleep, and never has. I have pictures of her at age 4, sound asleep in a teeny little shopping cart in the middle of Michael's craft store. So when she talks about not wanting to sleep (this ONE time, ha), I pay attention.

She said she was afraid of falling asleep because she has been having bad dreams. The other night, she did wake up terrified of something she couldnt explain in her state of delirium, but had forgotten what it was about by morning. Last night at bedtime, the nightmare finally resurfaced fresh enough for her to talk about.

Evidently there was an awful nightmare involving a trip to the moon with her Dad. Her voice grew tight and panicked as she explained that they were exploring and then he just LEFT her there. She saw him get in his rocket ship and leave, and she needed to find a way to get back to grandpa and grandma's house at the earth, but she was all alone and scared of the aliens. Then she dreamt right after that of watching me drink toilet water, and she watched as I 'started to fade away'... and the dream ended with me dying in front of her.

Yep. Traumatized for life.

And she probably is too (haha).

Anyways. I explained all this to Tyson when he got home late last night, and he was particularly sensitive to it. I also mentioned that his son was missing him, and he should leave a note or something in the morning since we will have a busy couple days and they may not see each other until the weekend.

When I walked into the kitchen this morning, these little gems were sitting on the counter...

For Anabelle:

For Dawson:
I seriously feel like there is NO free time these days. I am looking at our calendar realizing we are pretty booked until NOVEMBER. We are having the time of our lives shooting bb guns and baking and coloring and swimming and biking and shopping and projecting ourselves to death with the kids, planning parties and outings and adventures with and without the little rascals, attending gatherings and orientations and races and get togethers of any and all kinds, but one day... when life slows down...

I have a dream...

I want to write a childrens book, and I want my husband to illustrate it. He is really REALLY good. Not many people know this about him, but the man can draw! He doodles on napkins things that my brain could never imagine. He sees pictures from angles I never realized were there. He even has a unique 'style' that I could pick out of a book of a thousand pictures. The man is a natural artist who has never explored his potential. I realize I am gushing over these cheesy little note cards, but he seriously slapped them out in 30 seconds flat. You should see what he can do when he actually TRIES.


Now I've said it. I've 'put it into the universe,' and Im hoping it resurfaces again one day when the days pass a little more slowly, even if our grandchildren are the only ones who ever take the time to read it.

Im off to watch my kids grow before my eyes!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Living Like A "Rock" Star

This is it... the highly anticipated Half Dome blog. Get it? "Rock" star? Elissa Parrish, I know you love me for this...

So... its been a doozie of a week or so.

I took 2 days off at the end of last week to celebrate with some old friends from high school... our class reunion at my parent's house was a nice relaxing time to catch up on some familiar and dear old faces that have been missed over the last decade or so! It was a decent turn out, I think a little more than 1/3rd of the 30 that graduated were able to make it.

We were so busy catching up, roasting s'mores, playing 'high school trivia,' eating, drinking, being merry, and just plain old hanging out... there aren't a ton of pictures but we all had a great time. I think. ;)

On Friday we recovered from a late night the evening before and slept in, then met up with whoever was around in SLO for lunch and wine tasting and some of our old favorite hang outs.

I still have cool friends... yesss!

Saturday it was family day in Yosemite.

Maybe I should back up a step and say that my youngest brother, Kyle, got an amazing opportunity to spend 8 weeks this summer working for the California Youth Conservation Corps in Yosemite National Park.

He is literally sleeping in a basement on a cot and working his butt off blazing trails, backpacking, building tepees for the Indians that summer there, and being a mountain man all the live long day. It was good to see him... he looks GREAT and I know he will have a new appreciation for his own bed when he gets home in a few weeks a $RICH$ man with a fancy resume! ITS A PAID POSITION!

Chelsea and Wady (my high school bff and her husband) were planning a visit for the reunion and since it happened to overlap with these grand Yosemite family day plans we decided to drag them along and make the most of it. We made plans to just stay over night in a neighboring town and take a little day hike the next morning on some obscure little wilderness trail called... Half Dome.


It was breath taking.


No, but seriously.

Did you know you can't breathe up there? (I didn't!) But then we found out real fast.

We started our hike at a little after 6:30am. The hotel we stayed at the night before was in Oakhurst, so we were still a good hour and a half from the trail head the morning of the hike. You do the math... we got up earrrly. Or late. Or something.

We saw some pretty amazing stuff.

We had some pretty good laughs.

We walked some pretty steep miles.

We made some pretty cool friends... who shared their permits with us since we are slackers that didn't realize SIX MONTHS AGO when they sold out online (seven seconds after they went on sale) that we were going to hike half dome on July 17th. Wild. Anyways. We scored the paper thanks to these kind hikers. That's all that matters. Without the transfered permit that we were totally chancing on getting ahold of, we would not have been allowed to hike past the cables once we got to the top. Which would have been a long hike with a big bummer at the end.

I did a little but not a lot of research before we hiked. I was protecting myself from too much information... Its a weird thing I have a habit of doing. I can't over think anything or else seeds of doubt creep in and mess with my head. Hindsight, this was a good move.

We all knew just enough before hand to make sure we had good hiking boots with lots of tread.

We knew how much water to bring per person and what kind of food to pack.

We knew how many miles, how long it would take us, what the temperature would be...

We were NOT prepared for this:

The pictures do no justice to just how terrifying it is to be standing there looking at this thing you are supposed to do with all the other millions of morons at varying skill levels that are trying to do the exact same difficult thing as you at different speeds and abilities.

Some people had gloves and ropes and real mountain climbing GEAR!

Some people were families... that were taking all the years of aggression from around the dinner table out on each other at 7500 feet as our lives dangled in front of us by one tiny cable. No, but seriously. This one guy and his teenage daughter were YELLING at each other to "SHUT UP! SHUT UP!!! NO YOU SHUT UP!!!!...." as we all held on to the same life line praying and concentrating... slightly stressful.

Some people didn't speak any English, which makes communicating hard (which is kind of a luxury you want to take advantage of if you have it). I totally came home and Googled how to say "tell my children I love them" in Japanese so I'll have it handy for next time.

Speaking of kids, some people had CHILDREN with them!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, not like baby children, but like 8 and 9 year olds! Wild. I think my kids are pretty tough cookies... but truthfully I don't know if theres any age that I would feel OK watching them do that at. Sorry, Mom. But its totally true.

When we got close to the top it was literally just giant steps cut into granite rock that we had to scale. That part was scary enough because once you get about half way up those steep little boogers, you turn around and look back and think about how ugly you would look smeared across the face of the cliff you accidentally just climbed without realizing it.

And then, you get to the top of the accidental cliff climbing, and there is a teeny little tent with a volunteer ranger who looks all of 14 years old who basically sits there and laughs at all the idiots (like us!) who suddenly have tons of urgent questions and concerns about how the heck they are going to make it to the top of the impossible.

Chelsea and I made it to the bluff before the cables a little ahead of Wady and Tyson. We couldn't see them but they weren't far behind. Then, there was a crack like the sky was splitting and Jesus was coming back, and the whole mountain we were standing on shook. I thought for sure it was an earthquake and half dome was about to end up on the floor of the valley a mere eight thousand feet below where we were standing. But... turns out... it was just a harmless little avalanche on the mountain across from us that was still capped with snow. Terrifying.

Anyways. The view from the top is incredible.

I took a little 'rest...' and may have even dozed off a moment... only to wake up because I was literally fighting to breathe in and out. It feels like someone is standing on your chest holding a towel over your face while you inhale. I think I'm in decent shape right now over all... it really stressed us all out! It was probably a blessing in the end because if it had been that comfortable up there I might still be up there for fear of the decent back down the death wires.

Down the mountain wasn't half as bad, surprisingly. I think the worst part about down was just knowing we were all TIRED! And it was still nine miles of downhill hike back to the car. The altitude also made us all bloated and puffy... our new hiking shoes were being mean to our fat feet, my fingers looked like sausages (tasty!), and poor Tyson's joints were killing him. Down hill is meaner than up hill! He says he'd totally do it again, but not without poles. Hiking poles, not Polish people. Just to clarify.

By the time we were back at the car, the trip had taken us a good 12 hours, and then we drove all the way home. It was a super duper late night and we had plans to go deep sea fishing out of Rose's landing in Morro Bay the next morning at 6am. We got home close to 1am, and I think that might be the most exhausted I've ever been, including running a marathon and giving birth.

Anyways. That was our crazy mountain adventure. Its been a busy month or so, and I have more to blog about! And for once... it doesn't really involve my kids. Gasp! I almost feel guilty typing that. Almost.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Party in the USA

Happy 4th of July weekend everyone!

We've been going and going and going... I'm ready to blog just for an excuse to sit down a minute! Lucky little you. ;)

Poor Ty had to work alllll weekend. Except for this morning. So, instead of moping around and hopelessly pining away for him, we decided to load the car and head to a little known haven called... LOS ANGLES.

Evidently we weren't the only ones with that idea... erhm. It took FOUR HOURS to get out of LA on the way home. Those were some dark, dark, dark, dark hours people. Not pretty at all.

Peed in some strange places.

Cried real tears when the technology ran out of battery.

There was yelling and hair pulling... I'm not telling if it was the kids or me.

But we made it. And it was SO worth it to spend a few hours with some of my most favorite faces!

Carly and Dave were visiting for literally 5 minutes. We got at least a good 2 of those 5 minutes, it was a treat! There was a wedding Carly was part of, and Ann and Joe were also attending. The next day (Saturday) we rolled in to town around lunch time, and they braved the blazing hot and unfamiliar freeways to come meet us for an afternoon in the shade at KJs pool. KJ got off work shortly after and we all swam and ate and had a grand old time, until we were STARVING and Jessica got off work and met us for a delish family dinner.

The only complaint of the entire weekend (besides... wait, did I already mention the traffic? ;)...) was not having Ty there to enjoy it with. But there was still a LOT of giving on every one's part to make the afternoon of bliss happen and it was so fun and I'd ~probably~ do it all again.

But without the traffic. That I barely even noticed.


Anyways. With all that TRAFFIC that took us FOUR HOURS to get thru before the real drive could EVEN START... we had a sweet little MUCH NEEDED pit stop in Santa Barbara with Auntie Marlene who fed and hydrated us, washed my filthy daughter's stinky little feet, and showed us to her neighborhood playground where the kids blew off GOBS OF ENERGY PREVIOUSLY CONTAINED IN THE SHRINKING CONFINES OF THE BLISTERING HOT CAR. IN LA TRAFFIC. Traffic sucks. Heh. I think I'm done now. Maybe.

Needless to say, with all the adventure we packed in to the weekend we got home super late and our 4Th of July plans included a bright-n-early 5k that involved driving out to the middle of the wilderness (where only escaped convicts and the witch from Hansel and Gretel call home) to run 3 miles in the sweltering heat. Do we know how to have a good time, or WHAT?!?!

No, but seriously, it was a really really good time.

Anabelle was the cheerleader this time around. Which was probably a good call, since she stayed at the finish line with a good friend who reported that she couldn't even bring herself to STAND in the sun and wait for us to cross. Ha. Disaster adverted. ;) Score one point for team parents.

Dawson was quite a contender...

He finished under 40minutes and placed THIRD in his age group. WHATS UPPPPPPP!?!?!?!? I am so proud I could explode. He won some pretty cool stuff... a nIcE Asics duffel bag that he already determined he can fit all the way inside of and zip the zipper... an ExCeLLeNt quality in a duffel bag... er... so Im told...

He also won these awesome sunglasses. I ~might~ be borrowing them. Pretty often. Or we can call them 'thanks for the awesome first race, Mama!' ;) Juuuuust kidding... probably.

I also set a personal record despite the presence of my EVIL arch enemy... HOT WEATHER. Its literally kryptonite to my Clark Kent. I was shocked I did so well for myself, but ILL TAKE IT! After the race there was a tasty breakfast and lots of other cool prizes. We left with some fun loot. Its a cool tradition. Or a hot tradition. You know what I mean.

We stopped by Grammies on the way home to cool off...

Man, are we bonafide country folk or WHAT!?!

If the boot fits... ;)

Grammie does a really great job giving any holiday or occasion a festive flare... our country's birthday was no exception.

There are more pictures of the food spread because I'm one of those weirdos who likes food por... I mean pictures... But my computer is being lame so maybe if I get ambitious later Ill upload them. Don't wait by your laptop tho.

By the end of the festivities we were SOO TIRED we came crawling home and everyone took naps before Ty had to work. Hallelujah (sang the heavenly hosts)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was a great weekend, and I am so so so thankful for safety on the road as we passed so many horrible accidents and stranded travelers... and also, for what its worth, I am thankful to be an American despite our country's quirks and imperfections. My children drink clean water and pray to our God any time and any where they want, America is BEAUTIFUL, and there are men and women willing to die to protect our countless freedoms and allow us sleep each night.

Hope everyone had a hot dog and a beer, and managed to find some sparks in their day somehow.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Kids These Days

So, last month our awful cat disappeared.

She just wandered off into the hills, and was never seen or heard from again. Ah, sweet relief. That's probably the nicest thing she's ever... oops, i mean, we've all been utterly devastated and searching around the clock for her to no avail.

I was beginning to enjoy not having to get up in the middle of the night to swat her off the screen outside our bedroom window she regularly climbs while moaning like a laboring zombie when she wants in at 2am. I was getting used to the idea of not having to rake the logs out of the landscaping bark outside our front door that she decided were more inviting than her litter box. I was noticing how nice it was to not have to vacuum clumps of matted cat hair stuck to whatever area of carpet looked freshest.

But then. One beautiful sunshiny morning as we walked out of Target... one of Tyson's co-workers mysteriously ambushed us outside the store as we were heading to load our car- holding...


Its almost as if it had been pre-arranged somehow. But I know that's not possible, since Tyson and I had repeatedly discussed all the disadvantages (there are so so so many!!) of cat ownership, and how it was delightful to be rid of the chains once and for all. It was pure happenstance... odd coincidence!... and this poor kitten soul needed a home, immediately!!, or surely she would perish and a jewel would be removed from our heavenly crown for our lack of compassion on one of God's creatures.

Anyways. This blog is not supposed to be about the spawn, I mean kitten.

Its about how adorable my kids are-

There was a knock on the door and 'someone' left a suspicious box.

Dawson immediately tore it open, and scooped her up,

with Anabelle hot on his tail, I mean trail...

They were pretty excited.

Then, without any prompting what-so-ever... Anabelle pipes up...

"I think Dawson gets to name her, because I got to name the last kitten."

He thanked her, and not 5 seconds later said very matter of fact "Her name is Rosemary." As if he'd been thinking about it all his life and had never been more certain.

Both kids have really been enjoying her, but Dawson is especially adoring.

He thinks about her constantly.

He worries that she will be lonely, or cold, or get lost in the garage she is banished to sleep in.

He doesn't want to leave the house because she can't come with us everywhere we go, and when we finally get home, he races to rescue her and acts like its the first time they've met all over again.

Yesterday he made her a present...

A scratching box.

Tyson says its marketing brainwash at its finest and that perhaps we've allowed a little too much time on the electronic devices in our household... but I personally think its a testimony of how brilliant, creative, and caring our lovely little boy is (duh!).

First, he tied some string to the box 'to get her frisky.'

Then, he drew instructions:

1. No standing on the box.

2. No cutting the box with scissors.

3. No zzzzzz sleeping zzzzz on the box,

4. (Stick figured) Kittens only.

Seems pretty reasonable to me.

Then, so as not to waste valuable advertising space, theres an added bonus!

This scratching box received a 5 star customer rating!!

And also, loyal customers are eligible to win big prizes. Somehow.

So. freaking. awesome.

This kid doesn't miss a singe detail of his surroundings. We've never discussed the 'instruction labels' on the shopping carts or on product merchandise at all, but obviously he's on to them.

And... 5 star rating?

Thats just funny stuff right there.

These kids are a riot. They are proving hard to keep occupied so far this summer because they just want to



And they're always dirty and never ever tired.

Hopefully Rosemary will be a good summer babysitter, oops, I mean companion for the both of them.

And hopefully one day our marriage will recover from the ultimate betrayal.

Although, I must admit, it will be hard to stay mad for long at something that makes my kids look this happy...
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Whirlwinds of Change

When I was a new mom, and just learning to adapt to all the drastic life changes that brought along with it, I would often let my mind wander a year or two down the road... toward the flicker of hope in a time when the kids would be less dependent on a constant basis. When I could eat a meal with both hands again, or without being interrupted mid-spoonful by a starving infant. When I could finish a conversation with the friend I had bumped in to without having to rush home for an afternoon nap schedule. When I could take a shower without the fear of the world's most daring baby climbing out of his crib and falling onto his head and I wouldn't even be there to hear his screams.

Recently, I'm realizing these 'less dependent' days... they aren't coming anytime soon. Maybe not ever. While all the above issues are no longer top concerns, I have entirely brand new sets of crisis management training skills ranging from "were late for gymnastics and I can't find a leotard that doesn't have magic marker all over it" to "why can't I wear my roller skates in the grocery store... past this display case of glass bottles?"So life is exciting round here! Its a whirlwind. But I've noticed how I've stopped looking down the road, and started to really breathe in the scenery as its flying past.

Tomorrow and someday arent a daydream anymore... they are TODAY! Right now! We are enjoying these moments!

I was remembering that a blink ago I was sitting here blogging about Dawson's first day of first grade with a glass of wine and tears on my keyboard because I just wasn't sure he was ready. I didn't know if he was strong enough to handle the demands and challenges of first grade. It honestly was a really tough transition for us, but then, suddenly, it was Christmas vacation, and then oh! Where did March come from?! And then it was May! And then, my little sea star was saying goodbye to all his first grade buddys and his 'stern and demanding' first grade teacher... who actually ran such a tight ship that I'm proud to say confidently, my baby boy is the most confident, effective reader/speller that I've had the pleasure of knowing. With the neatest handwriting, and correct grammar and punctuation, and a strong sense of self confidence in his gift for drawing because of the recognition and encouragement he received throughout the year from his 'tough' teacher.

This year made me realize all the more, teachers have the hardest job. And I appreciate that this one recognized she wasnt there to be my kid's friend, but to teach him about the potential within and the standard we learn by. Tough lessons, but ever so valuable. I'd call it a successful year.

Fun side note~ every morning we would wait til very last thing to comb Dawson's hair, and he'd beg me in my frazzled get-your-coat-on-stand-up-look-at-me-dont-forget-your-lunch-box mom state to "puh-leeeeeze make him hair like Two Face on Batman." I'd say... "uh, no." Because... I dunno... I wish I could be that uninhibited artsy mom that says 'be who you are! Who cares! Let them stare!,' but really, I care... and I didnt want him looking like he came to first grade straight from a night on the Las Vegas strip. On the last day of school... I finally caved...Cutest little wanna-be villain around. I'd say we definitely upstaged last years mohawk. ;)

Anabelle also is at a milestone, with her final day of pre-K last Thusday. Thats it untill Kindergarten for her~ she's SO beyond ready! That girl is also a reading/writing machine. I was speechless the other day (a first for me!) when she picked up Green Eggs and Ham and started sight reading from the middle of the book... FIVE whole pages without help. WHAT!?

They had a promotion chapel last week, so the daycare kids and I took a little field trip... we busted Dawson out of school and met both my parents and Tyson's mom at the event. Anabelle planned her whole outfit, and wore her flower girl gown and her princess tiara from the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique at Disneyland for the special occasion... and she acted every bit the part she dressed to play. They recognized each kid for a character trait that stood out in them, and my daughter was awarded for her encouragement to others. Beams of pride from her dad and I.

Then they called out each name, and when they handed them the promotion certificate they asked into the microphone "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

The little heartfelt responses were so moving and so thoughtful and sincere... some hilarious, some sweet... some completely unrealistic but charming just the same.

One child said a doctor. One said a captain of a ship. There were future firemen, poliece men, teachers, ladybugs, even vampires... one quirky soul said "bone collector" and gave us all a good laugh (and some food for thought).

My daughter's big announcement: she's going to be a princess, naturally (I know you're SHOCKED).

Maybe its time to stop replaying the recaps of the royal wedding for us to watch together on YouTube... and TYSON! The beauty sleep mask from the dollar store you surprised her with- NOT HELPING THE ISSUE!

(Actual conversation after the promotion...)

Me: "So, Anabelle... what exactly do princesses DO?"
Anabelle: "Oh, well, they like to clean and stuff."
Me: "Well. I suppose I'm definitely a princess then?"
Anabelle (rolls eyes!): "NO, Mom. You never clean ANYTHING!!"

i give up.

So ya. Shes charged with plenty of personality to go around, and ready to roll right in to kindergarten with her posse of preschool pals. A good handful of the younger siblings from Dawson's class will be in her grade, and another good handful from around the block. Its strange how many more familiar faces there will be the second (and last) time we do the first day of kindergarten. Definitely not rushing these lazy days of summer, realizing that after this there is no going back: we will officially have 2 school aged children.

So that brings us to the official start of summer! Ty will be home a lot more, he gets a whole week and then some off in July. Its great to have him around, he is such a help with the kids and the daycare and just in general around the house.

Its a good thing, too. With these little monsters, I need all the help I can get. (Gulp!)