Monday, July 14, 2014

Halfway to old

When each of my kids turns nine years old, I always say the same thing.

"Gee, half of your childhood is over!"

Then they look at me all puzzled-like, "Huh? What do you mean..."

"Well, you're an adult once you reach the age of 18.  And you are nine years old today.  Half of 18 is nine.  So, half of your childhood is over."  And then I wait for a reaction.

All but one of my kids smiled when I told them that.   I've even had a few who got excited and said, "Cool!" because to them, being 18 and an "adult" is something to look forward to.  

But not my Alex.  When I told him that, he looked at me with an expression on his face that said, "OH MY GOD what are you saying?"  Then he started crying.  Yes, crying. So I did my best to cheer him up, but you can't unsay what you said, so his mind was already going with the idea and there was no stopping it.  He just kept saying, "But I don't want my childhood to be over!"  Poor kid.  I traumatized him on his birthday.  Bad Mommy. But that was a few years ago. Today, at age 14, he's doing much better with it. Puberty has kicked in, he's looking forward to getting his driver's license and shaving, and all is well with this thing called growing up.

But I have to tell you that today -- on my 45th Birthday -- I'm feeling a little something similar to what Alex felt.  Because here I am at an age that when you double it you get the number 90.  


I'm halfway to ninety!!  

That means half of my youth is over.  Damn.  That was quick.

In just five more years I will be fifty.  But fifty doesn't bother me.  And sixty doesn't scare me, either.  My own mother is in her 60's and seeing how youthful and active and attractive she still is, how can sixty scare me?  It doesn't.  In fact, my mother isn't all that far away from seventy, so seventy doesn't really scare me, either.  Now I'll admit that eighty is pushing it.  I see eighty as old, but doable.  I think eighty these days might be the new seventy.  People live well into their 80's, and you see it more and more.  But ninety?  Hmmm.  I don't know about those 90's.  When you reach your 90's people start congratulating you as if you won a race or something.

"Ninety, huh?  Well, good for you!"

"You're ninety?  Wow, that's amazing!"

When people start calling you "amazing" just for reaching an age, then I feel you have officially arrived at old. 

I can't believe I am halfway to old.  Halfway!

Well, whatever.  It is what it is.  Besides, this little guy of mine keeps me feeling young.  

That is, until I start thinking about how when he is my age...I will be pushing ninety.  Ninety!  Okay, now I feel old again.


Happy Birthday to me, and all of you out there who share my birthday!!   July 14th ROCKS!!

And if you are turning ninety today.....well then, good for you!  You are amazing!

Friday, June 6, 2014

June is here!

June.  Such an exhausting month.  June is the wrap-up month of school for our district, and this makes the month very chaotic.  In these last few weeks all the major school projects are due; the science fair projects and the writing projects. This is also when they all take their class field trips. All of the library books are collected, and it seems that all grades do some sort of end-of-the-year class performance of some kind. There are plays and singing performances, violin concerts and end-of-the-year class parties. All this times six kids in six different grades.  My calendar explodes during the month of June.   I can hardly keep up with it all.  Truth be told, I don't keep up with it all.  There is always something that I forget to do, to bring, to send to school.  Luckily, the most important things - like showing up for a performance - are never forgotten.

Yea, June is a crazy month.   To top it off, the kids have a much harder time waking up these June mornings because they are just so over school already.  They can sense that summer is right around the corner, and their brain starts their summer vacations early.  June 24th is our last day of school, and I'm telling you it just can come soon enough. We are ready for summer!

Hey, how about this picture!  They are ALL here!
This doesn't happen often.  Afton is home from college, Audriana wasn't working on this day, and Anthony was hanging out with us during his break from work.  I love when all ten are "home" -- so, I forced them to gather together for this quick photo.  Seriously, some of them gave me such grief.  Like this is asking too much?  Of course when I say "some of them" I mean Afton.  

We have some family news.  Very exciting news!  No, it's not another baby.  Relax yourself about that.We are done at 10, remember?  We are!  Why don't people ever believe me?  Anyway, the BIG NEWS is that we are putting in a swimming pool this summer!  Construction on this begins July 1st.  We are very excited!  I will be posting the pool construction progress on my blog,  so make sure you subscribe to my feed so you don't miss the the excavation or the pouring of the concrete or the installation of the heating system -- I mean, each step is so darn exciting, how could you stand to miss any of it?

Here's the plan for the pool.
There will be a rock slide for the kids, and the pool equipment will be hidden behind the rock structure.The big circle is the jacuzzi and the smaller circle is the raised fire pit with a sitting wall.  There is a baja shelf (aka Shamu shelf) in the shallow end, with smaller steps coming off of it. And there are three bench seats in the deep end.  To the left of the pool will be a 15x15 BBQ structure with a tile roof and bar stool seating, but that will be built after the pool is done.  First things first...because we want to start swimming before summer is over! They say that once the project starts (estimated to be July 1st) the pool will be ready to swim in within 6 weeks.  So that puts us into the second week of August.  IF all goes as planned.  I'm not kidding myself; I know things happen that cause delays.  But if we could be swimming in it by late August, well that would make me happy.  August, September and October are usually our warmest months of the year.

June 3rd was a very special day here in our home.  Our baby boy turned ONE!

Yes, Aiden is an official toddler now.  No longer an infant.  And my heart breaks just a little bit about this. My last baby is growing up way too quickly for my liking.  I just want to put everything on slow motion and drag these baby years out as long as I can.  Having a baby in the house is so much fun.

He is doing new things and making us laugh every single day.  I am so thankful for our #10. 
When he smiles, his eyes practically disappear.  He's got his mama's squint. 
His first word was "ball" but he just doesn't say it once.  He repeats it over and over until he has the ball in his hand, so it sounds something like this: "Ball! Ball, ball, ball, ball, ball...."  and it could drive a person batty, hearing that all day. But you know, I never tire of it.  He has the sweetest, raspiest little voice ever.
During his birthday party, I helped him open up his presents.  

He got a lot of things: a truck, three balls, a toy doggy, and lots of size 18-24 months clothes.
The day after his birthday, I did what I've never done before.  I packed up his outgrown baby clothes and sent them off to the donation site.
Normally I don't do this.  I usually pack up the outgrown clothing and store it away for the "next" baby.  But not this time.  I won't even go into the emotions that flowed through me as I did this.   Let's just say it wasn't an easy task for me.

Happy 1st Birthday to my sweet boy!

Friday, May 30, 2014

the field trip

My kids have this thing that they do.  Whenever someone leaves our house after visiting, or even sometimes when I leave the house to go somewhere, they will run on the sidewalk alongside the car and "race" the car to the top of our street.  The person in the car will drive slow at first, so that the kids can keep up or even be ahead of them...and then slowly start to go faster so that the kids are finally trailing far behind.  My kids think this is the funniest thing to do -- to "race" a car.  Such a kid thing to do, right?  Kids are so funny.

And yet today I "raced" a school bus.  Let me explain.

Aria went on her very first school field trip this morning.  Her Kindergarten class went to an environmental nature museum that is about a 30 minute drive from the school.  To get there they went on a bus.  A yellow school bus.  Aria had never been on a bus before, and this is what excited her the most about the field trip.

"I'm going on a bus!"  is what she told us almost everyday for the past two weeks.  For her, it was all about the bus ride.  I don't think she even knew where they were going on their class field trip, and I doubt she even cared.  Just so long as they traveled by big yellow school bus.

After I dropped everyone off at school, I went home to a quiet house.  The baby was still sleeping, and I silently rejoiced at having a few minutes to myself.  I started a load of laundry and then began cleaning the kitchen after the breakfast mess.  In my mind I was thinking of all the things I could do while the baby slept: balance my checkbook, catch up on emails, clear away the house clutter that accumulates everyday...the possibilities were endless.

Yet, my mind kept going back to Aria.  This was such a big day for her, and I was feeling a little bad about the way the morning went.  I was supposed to wake up early and prepare a "big" breakfast for her because on their field trip they wouldn't be having their usual 10:00am snack.  But instead I woke up late and she poured herself a bowl of Rice Crispies.  She was supposed to wear jeans, a short sleeved shirt, a light jacket in case it was cold, and closed toes shoes.  Well, because I woke up late she picked out her own clothes: purple sweats with a long sleeved shirt and her brown boots.  Brown boots with purple sweats?  I made her change to tennis shoes, but of course that made her mad at me because how dare I criticize her fashion style.  In the van on the way to school I realized that she didn't have a light jacket, just in case it got cold.  So I had everyone search the car for any kind of jacket.  Sometimes it helps that my kids leave things everywhere, because sure enough A.J. found a jacket of Aislynn's, and that is what we tied around Aria's waist so she could bring it on the field trip.  It was huge, but it would work.  The morning was rushed, not at all like I had pictured her big day.  She gave me a quick kiss and hopped out of the van at the morning drop off, and I barely got the chance to say, "have fun on your field trip!" before the van doors slammed shut and she was skipping off to her line.  I drove away feeling....well, feeling a little sad.  It was such an important day for her, and I didn't make a big deal out of it.    

So as I did the dishes, I kept looking up at the clock.  Soon it was 8:15.  I knew the bus was supposed to depart at 8:15.  I thought to myself,  I should have gotten up early, taken a shower, had my camera charged and ready so that I could be there and take pictures when she boarded the bus and pulled away.  As it was, I looked a mess because I just woke up.  The last thing I wanted to do was to stand next to a bunch of Kindergarten moms when I looked like I just rolled out of bed.  Also, my it charged?  I doubted it.  And of course, it was already 8:15.  Even if I jumped in the car right this second I would probably miss the bus departure.  Nope, I should just forget about it and go on to enjoy my quiet morning.


But what if the bus arrived late?  Then they would still be there.  And maybe I could catch a few pictures.  Aria would be so happy to see me.  It would make her feel special to have me waving at her as they pulled away.  It would make up for the morning rush.  Should I try to make it? No, no...I'm sure I'd never make it in time.  Plus, I'm such a mess right now.  My hair, my clothes...


Buses do run behind schedule.  It happens.  And who cares what I look like!  Aria won't care about that.

That's it - I'm going!

I told Audriana that I was leaving, and I grabbed my camera, got my car keys, threw on my flip-flops and ran out the door.  It only takes one minute to drive down the hill to the elementary school, and when my car turned the corner I could see the big yellow school bus parked in the bus lane. I'm not too late! I saw a bunch of Kindergarteners standing in lines next to the bus.  I parked my car and hurried over to the lines, looking for Aria's class.

And there she was,  waiting to board the bus in her purple sweats and with her older sister's jacket tied around her waist.  She glanced up and saw me.  "Mommy!" she said, surprised. 

I went up and gave her the biggest squeeze of a hug and I told her to have a GREAT time!  And I told her that I loved her and that I couldn't wait to hear all about her field trip when she gets back!  She was so excited, and I was so happy that I was there to snap these pictures and capture the moment.

Getting on the Big Yellow School Bus!

Waving at me from the window

Big smile for mommy

And I stood there, taking pictures and waving at her.  And she never took her eyes off me.  With all of the excitement and all the chaos going on inside that bus full of five year olds, she kept her eyes on me and waved and blew me kisses...because I'm "mommy" and to a five year old I trump all that other stuff.   

And I was so glad that I was there!

Soon the bus started up, and all the other mommies stepped away a little bit.  Some even began walking back to their cars.  But me? I stayed alongside the bus, and as Aria looked down at me I pumped my arms up and down in a running motion, and I could see her start to laugh.  She knew what I was about to do.  The bus pulled forward and I started jogging next to it, then it went faster and I went faster...and before I knew what was happening I was racing a school bus down the street.  I looked up at Aria and she was laughing so hard.  The bus eventually won and left me standing at the end of the sidewalk, waving.   

I was smiling to myself as I walked back, and only then did I notice that the other moms were staring at me.  I guess I must have looked pretty silly.  "That's just something we do in our family,"  I explained, as I passed by them.  "We race cars...and buses."  

A few hours later, I picked her up from school and started asking her questions about her morning.  I was eager to hear all about her first field trip.

So...did you have fun?
What did you do there?
"We walked around and looked at flowers and things."
Were you warm enough?
Was the bus ride fun?
What was your favorite part of your field trip? 
And she looked at me and smiled.
"When you raced the bus!"

Aria's first time on a school bus ~ May 28, 2014

Years from now, she might not remember where she went on her first field trip, or who she sat by on the bus...but she'll always remember her mommy running alongside the school bus, with no purpose other than to make her laugh.