Monday, June 30, 2014

A clove of garlic for a mascot? Yes please!

I love garlic.

One of my favorite pasta dishes consists of garlic sauteed in some extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of salt.  Simple, garlicky, and delicious.

I hate roller coasters.

I didn't always hate roller coasters. In-fact as a youngster I loooved roller coasters! I remember riding the old wooden one at Darian Lake 7 times in a row. Only stopping because they closed it for repairs then getting right back on as soon as it was fixed. But as I got older my motion sickness got much worse and hence my dislike of all things that moved quickly, upside down, backwards, in circles, back and forth, up and down, or in any other moment that was strait forward and flat. That includes swings. I know, such a baby. Needless to say, I said good to my roller coastering days about 9 years ago (much to the dismay of my roller coaster loving husband).

So what does my love of garlic and hate of roller coasters have to do with each other? Two words.

Gilroy Gardens

This family theme park is built in the rolling hills of Gilroy, CA (about 30 min from our house). The grounds of the park are all garden themed, all of their rides are appropriate for my little ones, there are splash pads galore, there is only 1 roller coaster that would make me turn green, and their mascot is a dancing clove of garlic. I mean, come on! So cute!

Not to mention the duckie paddle boats, lazy river rides, vintage car rides, carnival games, fruit and veggie themed rides, butterfly conservatory, pine trees, flowers, easy parking, and garlicky treats.

Thanks to my super considerate Sister-in-law, Jodee, we now have season passes to this park and we are taking full advantage of it.

We pack a lunch and head out for a day full of family friendly fun!


 (husbands reaction to learning that there is only 1 roller coaster;)



 Okay locals, who's going to buy a season pass so we can go together?!

Friday, June 27, 2014

I See You

When Dane wants something, whether it is for me to look at his "cool new trick" or a "snack" (the former being the most common), he will repeat him self until I respond or complete the task he is waiting for.

"Mama, I want a snack"

"Mama, I want a snack"

"Mama, I want a snack"

(said urgently all within 30 seconds...approximately 30 minutes after eating his previous "snack")

To which I respond:

Okay, Dane, I hear you. I will get you a snack, sweetie.

This usually will satisfy him long enough for me to get some nuts or fruit or turkey out for him.

"Okay, Dane. I hear you."

I say this probably 50 times a day. And it is true, I do hear him. We talk all day long. I express how I'm doing and he does his best to express how he is doing. All the while I am busy cooking, cleaning, working on the finances, etc. and he is playing and exploring. I am all business and he is all play (even though I believe his play is all business for him).

The thing is sometimes most of the time I find that although I hear him, I am not seeing him. Does that make sense?

It is usually the case that when Dane is hard at play and he sees me coming he will say something along the lines of "No, Mama! Go bye-bye, Mama!" On the contrast, when he sees Aaron coming he will get excited and say something inviting Aaron to either join in with the play or wanting to show him what he has created.

I have been thinking about this recently and wondering why the difference. Now, granted, Dane has always been a daddy's boy but I think there is more to it. Dane knows that Aaron will stop what he is doing and just play. Just see him and enjoy the moment. On the other hand Dane also knows that when I come to see him it is usually because It is time for a diaper change or nap or to clean up or to get ready to go. I am efficient. I like to get things done. No time for play (see previous post Finding My Pace).

That isn't how I want to continue parenting (or heck, even living in general). I don't want to be the mom that, even though things get done, the house is clean, and they don't stand  in need of things, they dread seeing me coming. The party pooper.

So, how do I start to see my boys? Where to start?

I decided that each day I will come up with a project for us to do. One that doesn't involve getting something completed or doing something just right. Something that is primarily led by Dane (or both boys) where I can just be present and see my boy.

See how when he is really focused he moves his tong all around.

See how his little baby hands play with the cars. Because even though he seems so big to me, he still has baby hands.

See how frustrated he gets when something gets stuck. Or, how thrilled he is when he tries something new that he loves.  

And this also goes for other areas of my life and relationships. I want to see my husband. I want to see my surroundings. I want to see my friends. I want to see my family. I want to see my God.

Not in the let's set up a date and get something done kind of way. More like " I love you and you deserve me to see you and appreciate you."

This will be a hard shift for me. It doesn't really come naturally anymore (I think that it might have at one point in my life). I have always had so much going on or so many responsibilities that I have been driven to multitasking everything. Even my babies. It will probably take a while for me to do it with out lots of conscience effort. But, with practice, I think I can do it. 

It's only been a couple weeks so far of practicing this but I'm already seeing a difference in my relationship with Dane.

Just yesterday Dane was playing in the living room while I was doing the dishes and he shouted "Hey, Mama! Come play with me! Let's make a project!"

And my favorite, he is snuggling me more! My little independent boy is showing me a lot more affection. 

So if we are hanging out and you see me start to get into all business mode, please feel free to pull me back down to play mode. And if you have any ideas that have helped you, please share (I've shared some thing that have helped me below)!

Progress.  I'm a work in progress.


Here are some things that have been helping me with my journey in mother hood.

Reading or listening to this every morning seems to give me the calmness and a little extra patience that I need to get through the day. It is hard for me to sit and read sometimes so I just let the narrator read it to me.When I pray I ask for guidance in parenting my little boys and when I read/listen to the scriptures I receive answers to those prayers. 

This article gives me great perspective. I just love this essay on parenting.
"What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations and the older parents at cocktail parties—what they taught me was that they couldn’t really teach me very much at all. Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can only be managed with a stern voice and a time-out. One boy is toilet trained at three, his brother at two. When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome."

This website has lots of good ideas and focuses on the idea that "Our children are born competent whole people. Let trust and belief in your babies guide your parenting". You can also follow her on Facebook.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Wrap it up!

 How many baby wraps/carriers do you have?

I have 5.

Is that normal? It seems like I need a different baby carrier for each stage/age that the baby goes through and activity that we are doing and then add in the particular preferences of each baby and a girl can get a little out of control with buying carriers.

Luckily, to my husbands wallet, I have been able to purchase mine used or was gifted all of them.

The one I wanted to talk about today is the Moby wrap. I know people that swear by this wrap and pretty much live in it.

If I did that I would most likely die of heat stroke. Man that thing is hot! And I'm not talking about hot like Thore hot, I'm talking hot like sitting in a sauna and sweating hot.

Then add in carrying around yards and yards of fabric, trying to remember how to tie it, having to readjust every 30 min, and the inconvenience if you are running errands and having to get the baby in and out several times I pretty much gave up hope with this one.

I mean, come on, wouldn't you?

Then we moved to an area where there is a plethora of gorgeous places to hike and I was once again trying to figure out which carrier to pack. I crossed off my front carry and side carry ones first. That just didn't seem like a good way to carry a baby and hike. Then crossed of my back carry one because I couldn't find it...I hate moving. And I was left with the Moby.

I did some research on Youtube and found a back carry wrap and gave it a shot my first time hiking.

It was a disaster. I forgot some of the steps and we (of course) had no signal where we were to look it up. So, I did my best through multiple laughing fits and comments about being a hippie mom and off we went. Mikey kept wiggling out and I was uncomfortable. However, I saw potential!

This past weekend we went up to Big Basin State Park and I was determined to try again. This time I watched the video 4 times and made notes.

With the help of my husband we successfully wrapped us up and it was seriously the best! I wasn't too hot because if you notice that there really isn't much fabric in the front of you. Mikey was snug and well supported against my back which made it easy to carry him for the 2 miles that we walked.

The key in this wrap is: when you tie the first knott....tie it TIGHT.

Like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind  or Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Carabian when they are tying her corset tight. "I can't breath!"

 I had Aaron yank on it till it seemed too tight then kept it tight while we did the next couple steps. After it settles it will be perfect.

So I am now a believer. Wrap it up and tie it with a bow.

Wana try it? You can always purchase the Moby new at all major baby stores but I recommend going to your nearest kids consignment store. They always have them. (Most likely because lots of mom's give up on it about the same time I did. That time being right at sweaty and confused.) 

After that watch this video a few times and practice it before you plan on going somewhere and wrapping it. Or take notes like me.

Just for future reference...when (God willing) I have the next baby, I want this carrier. Let's make it an even half dozen, shale we?

Don't even get me started on how many strollers I have....


Friday, June 13, 2014

Finding My Pace

You know that feeling right after you get off of running on a treadmill? You're walking but feel like you are still running, still trying to go fast? It takes a few minutes to adjust and feel like you have found your pace again.

That is where I am right now.

I feel like I just got off of my life tredmill where I have been running and pushing and working as hard as I can to keep up with the fast pasted belt under me. Sometimes it felt like I was just one wrong step from flying off the back and sometimes I would have no problem keeping up. But never the less most of the time I was just doing my best to stay on.

(Which by the way is pretty much exactly how I feel when I run on a treadmill....not that that has happened for a long while. Ugh  fitness, or rather the lack of, that will be a separate post entirely.)

I think a combination of life events starting from childhood through adulthood have made me really good at a lot of things. Things like putting out fires (not literally of course..I once caught myself on fire and refused to stop drop and roll. Aaanyway.), multitasking, wanting to serve others, keeping a cool mind, forgiveness, seeing the big picture,being independent, pulling through when it didn't seem possible, Faith, and having a strong testimony in the Atonement (to name a few). I am so grateful for these abilities. I really, really am.

I was always going from one thing to another fulfilling commitments and responsibilities and being content with the work. You gatta' do what you gatta do. Right?

I am a hard worker and proud of it!

I never really thought anything of it (as most women never do) and just plain did my best.

However, on the flip side of that I also think that it has made me bad at a lot of things. Things like not being in the moment, forgoing fun for completing tasks, loosing passion for things because I didn't have time, cleaning (I have a theory about this one), creativity, only relying on my self to accomplish something, always having "every thing under control", and not asking for help (even when needed). I could go on.

"I got it, I can do it."

So now here I stand. My responsibilities (thanks to a kind and loving Heavenly Father and a hard working, persistent husband) have dwindled down to Mother, Wife, and Daughter of God. Still huge responsibilities that keep me on my toes and busy but finally they are clear and not being multi-tasked.

What was the first thing I did? Started looking for more responsibilities!

No joke! I was looking for certifications I can get. Part time jobs. Classes to take. It's like I have no idea how to just slow down. Luckily, I have some pretty wise friends and family that can tell me things like "Stop it! You just need to relax. Everything is going to be okay."

So as I start to find my pace and actually have time to look around and be in the moment I am starting to find myself again. Starting to find my loves and dislikes. Starting to relax. Starting to find my style. Starting to be creative again.

I'm going to try to learn and grow as much as I can during this calm moment. For as I've learned, change comes quickly. I think this will be a slow, emotional, and maybe even confusing decompression but very much needed.

If for my husband and children's sakes only. They deserve the best I can give them.

And that best is my own pace.

To those of you who are smak-dab in the middle of a marathon on your own life treadmill, hang in there. Rely on your Heavenly Father for strength and endurance because he will make you strong enough to bare your burdens and adapt. I have found inspiration through reading this talk  and this talk several times. Life has ebbs and flows and your time will come to find your own pace again soon enough.

ps. I'm not huge on writing about such personal things. It is so hard! But I'm pretty sure only about 5 people read this blog :-) and I hope you will be patient with me as I work through this. Your love and support means so much to me.
pps. Turns out that picture taking is helping me be more in the moment, creative, and slow down, so I apologize for the picture overload that will most likely be coming. :-) I know, I know, another mom trying to be a photographer ;-)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My Big Hunk of Love. Big Sur.

Is it possible to have a love affair with a place? 

If it is (which I'm pretty sure it is) than there are two places in this country that have my heart.

My long time fling is New York City. It's been so long since we have seen each other *sigh* and I hope to reconnect soon. A first love is really hard to forget.

My new lover? Big Sur. 

While driving down the coast, winding back and forth and up and down the 1 and marveling at the luscious landscape, taking in the dramatic contrast of ocean waves crashing to my right and majestic mountains rising to my left, I took a deep breath and exclaimed "I'm in love".

It was love at first sight. Some would say love at first sight isn't that I say phooey. It absolutely is.

The air was filled with the scent of sea water and pine (with a hint of citrus) and I could feel it calming me down and bringing me to a happy place. 

Our destination was a water fall. My sister was in town for a few days in transition to moving back to South Carolina and had a bucket list of things to see in Northern California. One of them being McWay Falls in Big Sur. 

Big Sur is a easy 30 miles south of where we live (seriously, I'm in heaven) now so we jumped in the car, picked up 2 baskets of sugary sweet fresh strawberries and hit the road. Stopping along the way to snap some pictures, we arrived at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in about 50 minutes. 

I strapped Mikey on my back with my Moby wrap. Which is, by the way, no small feat and involved several laughing fits from the peanut gallery. But once accomplished was perfect for hiking. 

The 4 of us made the short hike to the falls and just took in all of it's beauty. 

I wish I could have taken more pictures but standing on the edge of a cliff with a squirmy 2 year old and a baby on my back I snapped what I could and then just tried to burn the moment into my memory. 

We hiked a little longer and found a place to stop and eat strawberries to our hearts content. We laughed, ate, and talked then packed up and headed home. 

It was too short. Much to short. But sometimes the best first dates are the ones that leave you wanting more. 

I will be back soon, my big hunk of Big Sur love.

What city has your heart?


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