Friday, May 31, 2013

It IS So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday

So this happened today...

But you probably already know that because you heard that weird sobbing noise coming from the Burbank area.  Actually, I was doing okay for while.  They walked in to Pomp and Circumstance, and I was fine.  They sang their little preschool songs, I smiled.  Then, THEN!  The school decided to so something special.  A surprise for everyone.  They showed pictures of three little preschool kids who had already graduated from Westminster.  Just last week, they graduated from the high school down the street.  That's when I lost it.  Those three teenagers had been part of the awesome Glee Club at the high school and proceeded to sing a song for us.  I sobbed almost uncontrollably.  My babies are really not babies anymore.  I mean they are compared to those now ex-high school students, but not compared to where we were five years ago, when we first walked into this preschool.  

I will always be grateful for this fantastic place that I left my girls for three hours a couple days a week to learn, play and make friends in the first years of their life.  I will remember how Sonya cried every time I dropped her off for the first two months and how great her teachers were to get her through.  I will remember Lana not shedding one tear when I dropped her off, but hearing she was a little sad in the middle of the day at the beginning and Georgia, who never cried once.  She was so used to going when it was her turn, she couldn't wait.  I remember feeling relieved when Sonya first went, so I  only had two to focus on, if even for a few hours.  Then I remember how sad I was at the beginning of this school year when I dropped Georgia off and was left alone three days a week for three hours.  I cried a bit that first week.  Then I realized how much faster grocery shopping could get done, and I managed. 

I will always cherish the pictures that were made for Andy and me at school along with our Mother's Day and Father's Day gifts and cards.  I will always think about the ice cream social at the beginning of the year and the pot luck at the end.  Westminster Preschool has been such a huge part of our life for so long that it's going to be so hard for us, okay mostly me, to let go.  Not just because of the school, but the community around it, the friends we have all made and because it's the place where my babies grew into kids.  As I sat there today watching those teenagers sing, all I could think of was, "Mine are going to be that age in the blink of an eye.  How the hell do I slow this down?"  I guess I will just have to make sure I have a lot of pictures so I can always look back and remember when they were this little. 

Congratulations GG!  We are so proud of you!

Georgia with her besties from R-L
Jenna, Sienna, Kennedy, and Georgia-her hat kept falling

My camera crew.  Sonya had video, Lana took phone camera pics.

With Teacher Suzanne-she had Lana last year

With Teacher Carol-Georgia had her both years

The fam
The graduate and the Alumni

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Family Adventure

Whenever we have a long holiday weekend, I always feel pressured to do something fun as a family.  Not that we don't do fun things together every weekend, but you know, mostly our weekends consist of getting things done around the yard or house.  Add in any birthday parties or baseball games we have to attend and that's pretty much two days.  However, when you have that extra third day with the husband and the kids home, you feel like you should spend at least ONE day doing fun things together as a family.  The problem is-what to do?

Sure-we live in Southern California, so there are a ton of things to do here; the beach, Disneyland, Universal-the Studios or just the City Walk, Knotts Berry Farm, The Zoo, The Long Beach Aquarium, The Getty, Santa Monica Pier...the list is endless.  However most of those things need to be planned in advanced.  At least for me.  I'm not so good with waking up on a Sunday morning and deciding at 8:30am that we should head over to Disneyland.  No, no.  I need time to prepare, mentally, as well as getting together everything we need for said outing. Turns out I'm not a very spontaneous person.  Then again, show me a mom who is and I'll show you a mom who never has anything she needs.  Either way, I'm a planner.  Always have been.  So this past Sunday when we were faced with a day of nothing to do, we started to go down that list of fun things we could do.  Without planning ahead of time, the list shortened up quite a bit.  

Then I remembered something I've been wanting to do with the girls for a while.  Something, that until recently, I didn't think they would be able to handle.  Well, at least not without a lot of whining, complaining and Andy or I carrying one of them eventually.  The nice thing about where we live is that here in Burbank there are hills.  And in those hills are quite a few hiking trails, not more than a five minute car ride away.  So when I suggested that we should go on a hike, it was met with much enthusiasm from everyone.  Fantastic!  These was an easy outing.  All I had to do was pack up some snacks, water and sunblock, and we were off.  

At the base of the trail that we were hiking is a nature center.  We walked around there for a few minutes and looked at the tarantula and King snake they have there, before we headed up the mountain.  As we walked, we chatted about the plants around us, what we would do if we came across a rattlesnake or bobcat, and how far we think we would hike.  We hiked for a bit, stopping at various points to see how high up we were.  It was a gorgeous day with perfect weather.  Sunny, 75, breezy.  Yes, our weather here does rock.  I might have heard one comment (complaint) about it being hot from someone (Lana), but the comments didn't go any further than that.  

One of our stops along the way.  I wouldn't let Sonya get any closer to the edge.

The man of the mountain and his girls.
There were some markings on the trail that pointed us in the direction of a lookout point.  It took us about half an hour to get up there and when we did it was awesome.  We could see the entire city of Burbank, into Los Angeles, all the way to downtown.  If the day would have been a bit more clear, I'm certain we would have been able to see the ocean.  But this is Los Angeles, so yes we do contend with some smog most days.  Still not as bad as it used to be!  

We stopped at the lookout point and ate our snacks while chatting with another family who had made their way up there.  They had three kids as well, but their three consisted of a 5 year old little girl and a set of 9 month old twin boys who the parents backpacked up there.  Yeah, that's why I waited  until all mine could walk on their own.  

After eating and spending some time admiring the view, we headed back down.  We debated going further up and along in the trail, but it was getting later in the afternoon and we wanted to get home to cook a big Sunday night dinner.  I think Andy and I could have kept going, but I know the girls were starting to poop out.  I have to say though, they were great.  Other than the few "it's hot" comments, we didn't really get any complaining or whining.  They all really enjoyed it.  The way down was of course easier in some ways than going up.  Except for the part when Georgia was running down the hill and fell.  She just skinned her knee, but it was enough for her to work up a couple quick tears and garnish some sympathy from me.  

All in all we had a fantastic time doing something together as a family that required no money and was more or less in our backyard.  As an added bonus, it didn't take up our entire day and I could do it spontaneously.  Any of you who live here in SoCal and haven't taken a hike with your kids, I highly recommend it.  There are so many places to do it around here and the best part about it, besides being with your family, is that you're all getting exercise too.  Another way to teach our children healthy habits!  Something I am always looking to add into our lives more.  

I did take a few pictures I took along the way.  I bought a fancy new camera for my birthday and I am still trying to figure out how to use it.  No, I am not the best photographer, but I try!  Enjoy!

Checking out the view.


My camera has a timer on it-hence the only picture I'm in.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Permanent Mark

Sunday night I was in the shower with Georgia when she pointed to my tattoo and asked,

"Did it hurt when you got dat stamp?"

Oh wait-you didn't know I had a tattoo?  Yes, yes I do.  I got it when I was 23 and yes I still do like it, even it my husband does not.  It's a dolphin-I know cliche, but they are my favorite animal.  It is on my left butt/hip area.  Contrary to what my mother thought, it did not get bigger and stretched out when I was pregnant and still looks good.  Although it could probably use a color touch up.  Not many people see it though, so whatever.  There's the back story.

"My tattoo you mean?  Yes, it did hurt when I got it," I told Georgia.  So many people have tattoos now, and with me having one, I don't want my kids to run out and get one at 15.  So yes girls, it hurt.  It hurt a lot.  And I got it in a fleshy area.  I can't even imagine the girls who get one on their ankle.  

"Oh, it does?" She asked me with a pained look on her face.

"Yes," I told her again.

Then she said to me, "I wonder what kind I will get?"

"Wait-what kind of tattoo?"  I asked.  She nodded yes.

"You don't have to get a tattoo if you don't want one," I told her.

"I don't?" 

"No, silly," I said.   "Daddy doesn't have one."

"Oh he doesn't.  Did he want one?" She asked.

"Well, he thought about getting one, but decided not to."  I said.  "So you don't have to get one when you get older either."

"Ok," this seemed to make her happy that she didn't have to get a "stamp" that hurt.   

Tattoos have become so normal these days, now kids just assume they will get one.  Don't misjudge, if my girls want to get a tattoo someday I certainly won't stop them.  That would just be hypocritical.  Well, as long as it's not on their face.  I might try and stop that.  They will, however, have to wait until they are at least 18.  I would encourage them to wait even longer.  That was why I waited until 23.  I wanted to make sure that the fun tattooing all my friends were doing on spring break that I thought about doing then, was something I really wanted to do  and not just an in the moment thing.  I have plenty of friends who regret some of the early tatts they have.  Although, by they time the girls are old enough, tattoos will probably not be the thing to do anymore.  In fact, at that point it will probably be cooler NOT to have one.  I'm fairly certain that is what my husband is hoping for.   

Friday, May 17, 2013

And Time Marches On

Some of you may be aware that this is Georgia's last year of preschool.  Which means this is the last time I will have a preschool kid, which means that next year I have ALL THREE kids in elementary school.  Now, two years ago I would have been celebrating this day to be here.  In fact I may have a countdown calendar around here somewhere.   Turns out though, I'm not as excited as I thought.  In fact, thinking about the fact that all three of my girls are getting so big has pushed all my emotions to the surface and I find myself crying very easily right now.  I teared up at a coffee commercial the other day.  Yes, I'm losing it a bit.  

This past Tuesday was our last Mommy and Me class.  This is a class I started taking Georgia to before preschool.  It's been a big part of our lives, but I never took the other two, so I didn't ever feel as much a connection as I do with the girls' preschool. This past Tuesday the class did a little graduation ceremony for all the kids.  It wasn't really a big deal in my mind.  She is going to have her preschool graduation at the end of this month and that's the one Andy will be there for. The cap and gown one. The big deal one.  This one was kinda just for fun as far, as I was concerned.  

They encouraged us to go up with our child and say a few words to them-how proud we are-you know, the usual.  So when it was Georgia's turn I walked up next to her and immediately started crying. I don't think I got two words out.  This made every other mom in the room cry, which only made me cry more.  I really thought I was going to keep it together, but I did not.  No, I looked like this instead:

How pretty am I with crying puffy eyes?  GG looks cute though.  I could barely get through what I wanted to say to her. Since I was this upset at a place I thought I didn't care that much about, I can't imagine how I'm going to be when she graduates from the preschool that we've been attached to for five years.  

I've always been sad when my girls have reached a milestone like this and moved on.  It's natural and I know that.  It's just harder with Georgia, because she is my last one.  It makes it hard, partially because she is growing up and getting bigger, but also because it is forcing me to move on past the baby/little kid phase of life.  For so many years I wanted to have babies and then I got to.  A little too much at once actually, but I handled it.   Then I blinked,  8 years went by and they are all in elementary school.  As it turns out I'm not dealing with it so well.  I'm not so sure Georgia is on board with moving on either, or it could be that she sees how upset I have been.  Tuesday evening she was acting kind of cranky and I sent her sisters off to the shower so I could talk to her alone and see what was up.  She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, 

"I don't want to leave you and go to Kindergarten."

Then my heart fell out of my body and onto the floor, I promised she never had to leave the house again and I would even by her a pony.  Okay, maybe I handled it better than that, but that's what I wanted to say.

I know eventually I will get better, and get used to this.  I will admit, there were talks about wanting  and possibly having another one, but we are so far from that stage now.  Still, it was a discussion Andy and I would have on and off.   Then a few weeks ago I was talking to my sister, Beth, about it and she put it into perspective for me.  

"You are only thinking about the next five years.  You're not thinking about the fact that having another one now would mean you are almost 60 before everyone leaves the house.  Do you really want that?"

I do not.  And she's right.  It is those first five years I crave.  I'm sure that even if I did have another one, in five years I'd feel like this again.  I just have to accept the fact that I have (almost) all school age kids and work with that.  I still have friends who will have babies and even though it's not the same as your own, sometimes it's better.  Because I can give them back and not get up at 2am and 4am and 6am.  THAT I do not miss.  

So I will take the time to grieve for the end of this chapter in my life.  The one that I was most looking forward to.  I'm sure there will be a lot of great things to come from my girls.  I can't wait to see what activities they really end up loving and how it will shape them into adulthood.  I am still not looking forward to the teen years, but I have some time left.  Not much, but some.  I will hold on to them liking me for as long as I can!  In the meantime, I will do my best to enjoy them now and in the moment.  In the grand scheme of things, they are all still little.  That won't stop me from going through a box of Kleenex at preschool graduation in two weeks though.  

My littlest big girl

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy (day after) Mother's Day!

Every year since I started this blog I have shared my Mother's Day "About My Mom" that the girls' have done at preschool.  This will be the final year I receive one of these and yes I've cried about five times over it.  So, one last time I share with you the adorableness of how old a four year old thinks their mom is, among other things.  

Not sure what to make of this one.  Should I be offended that she wants to get me make-up and eyelashes?  I'm all for the breakfast in bed though.  Still, I suppose my thinning eyelashes as I get older is really starting to show if Georgia notices it.  Damn.  

She did a pretty good job with this one.  Although I really only wear dresses for special occasions, like weddings.  Or Easter.  While I enjoy that she made me so young, it does mean that I legally can't have wine, so we should really talk about that one.  My girls have always known my favorite color.  I guess I did a good job getting that point across.  Again with the liking to eat fish!  Lana said the same thing last year.    Just because I make fish and make them eat it once a week, doesn't mean it's MY favorite food.  It just means I'm trying to instill healthy eating habits.  Trust me, I'd much rather eat cheeseburgers and pizza every day too.  

I love the this picture of us.  It is quite the likeness of me, no?  I am the purple one, of course, since it's my favorite color.  Orange is Georgia's favorite color.  Best picture ever.  Since this is the last time I will get these for Mother's Day, these pictures will be up in my kitchen until Georgia goes to college.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Week Filled With Problem Solving-AKA Parenthood

Last week.  Where should I start with last week?  Let's start with the fact that my in-laws were coming on Wednesday to visit, and also to watch the girls for the weekend.  Andy and I had an out of town wedding we were attending.  Then let's add that at the beginning of the week Georgia had a double ear infection with a fever, Lana threw up all over herself in the car on the way to the farm, and Sonya...Well, Sonya broke her thumb playing baseball on Thursday night.  Did I mention we had to leave Friday morning?  Sometimes being a parent is so fun!

In retrospect Georgia's issues seem so long ago and not that big  of a deal.  She got sick two weekends ago.  On that Saturday night she woke up in the middle of the night screaming about ear pain.  Then she developed a fever that lasted for about five days.  I did take her to the pediatrician in the middle of it and he prescribed her a heavy duty antibiotic since she was going to be in the care of my in-laws in a few days.  We didn't want her still feeling bad by then.  It took a couple days, but she was eventually fine.  She did do that thing where I would give her Advil, the fever would completely go away for HOURS.  I would think it was over only to be woken in the middle of the night by a very fevery hot Georgia.  I had to give her a couple of midnight baths to bring the fever down before the medicine would work again.  That was mostly just to make her more comfortable so we could all sleep.  She was fine by the time the in-laws arrived though, thank goodness.

Was Lana sick?  You ask.  Not that I knew of.  But there she was throwing up all over herself on the 45 minute drive to the farm  last Tuesday morning.  

Georgia's mommy and me class was having a field trip to the farm for the morning to pick Strawberries.  I wasn't going to be back in time to pick Lana up from Kindergarten, so just decided to take her out of school for the day.  The farm is Sonya's most favorite place in the world and I knew that if I went without her, she wouldn't be happy.  Luckily she had just finished standardized testing the week before and one day off school wouldn't hurt her at all since she does so well.  So off we all went, but we were running a bit late to get there and meet everyone.

We were ten minutes from the farm when out of nowhere Sonya says,

"Lana is throwing up!!"

"WHAT?!!" I ask, trying not to whip around and veer us off the highway.

"Lana is throwing up right now!" She told me again.

I gave Sonya my backpack which had plastic bags (for all the good those did at that point) and wipees. After Lana stopped bringing back her breakfast from that morning, she tried her best to clean herself up.

"How are you feeling Lana?"  I asked, worried she was going to get sick again.

"Fine.  Better," she told me.

Why?  Why would she throw up?  She wasn't sick at all.  Unless...we had been in the car for 45 minutes and I knew she had been coloring and reading.

"Lana did you throw up on your books," I asked.

"No," she told me.  "I was coloring and then didn't feel good, so I put it away.  Then I got a weird feeling in my cheeks and threw up."

"Yeah, you got car sick baby," I told her.  "Next time tell me if you feel like that and we can get you something to throw up in, okay?"

"K," she said.

I was hoping that when we got to the farm I could salvage her pants with some wipees.  I mean they didn't need to be super clean since we would be getting dirty anyway.  Except then  I saw- or rather smelled them-  and knew that wasn't happening.  Even though we were getting dirty, it was throw up and throw up is such a putrid smell.  Now a good mom would have an extra outfit in her car for such occasions.  Good thing I was meeting many of those good moms at the farm.  No, I didn't have anything, but my friend Bertha did.  She had a pair of her sons shorts in her car.  They were a little big on her, but at least they were clean!  She was completely fine for the rest of the day.  It was strange because she has never been carsick before.  None of them have.  My sister Megan gets carsick and I remember when we were kids I thought she was just using it as an excuse to ride in the front all the time, but turns out she really does get sick.  She can't do anything in the car besides sleep and drive.  I really hope Lana isn't on that path.  At least next time I will have a plastic bag and a change of clothes in the car.  Or at least be on my way to meet moms who are more prepared than I am.

That brings us to Sonya.  Thursday night she had a baseball game.  I'm not thrilled with the league that she's on this year, because they have games in the middle of the week starting at 7:15pm.  Call me crazy, but I believe that's a bit late for 8 and 9  year olds. Especially because the games don't end until almost 9pm,  but nobody asked me.  What we've been doing to make it easier on the family is I take everyone to the game, Andy meets us there after work around 8pm and stays with Sonya.  Then I can take the Wonder Twins home to get to bed.  No sooner had I gotten them to bed on that night, when Andy, his parents and Sonya walk in the door from the game.  Sonya was holding her right thumb up and  I could tell something had happened so I asked.

"Well," Sonya told me, "I got hit in the thumb with the ball."

Oh, ok.  No biggie.  Kids have been getting hit more this season because it's kid pitch, but really how hard could a kid pitch.  Turns out hard enough to  break a thumb.  Well this we didn't know at first and whether it's truly broken is still up for debate, but we didn't know that on Thursday.  What I did know was that she couldn't bend it at the knuckle and it was swollen and turning pretty shades of purple.

We had her ice it for a bit, and I dug out an old finger splint we had from when Andy broke his finger years back.  We put it on, gave her some Advil and sent her to bed.  Because really, what are they going to do for a finger anyway, right?  My sister the nurse, who now works for hand specialist told me -wrong.  I did indeed need to have it looked at and x-rayed.  Yay!  Mother of the year again!  I was batting 1,000 this week.  But hey at least I wasn't getting it with the ball.  Anyway, it wasn't a huge rush, but it was definitely needed, since A-she is still growing and it could affect her growth and B-it's her thumb.  Arguably the most important of all the fingers.  Did I mention Andy and I had to leave at 9am on Friday morning?  Oh and this was not something we could just not go to, or even be late for since my husband was marrying the couple.  It's awesome how these things always happen at the  perfect time.

The good news was, my in-laws are totally smart capable adults who I knew could handle this situation.  I also knew Sonya was comfortable being with them. Still, I was having major mommy guilt about going.   I asked her a number of times if she was okay with me going and she all but kicked me out.  Most likely because she knew if I stayed, the daily visits to Menchies, while we were away, would not happen.  So with the help of modern technology, I was able to make all the phone calls I needed from the car to get Sonya appointments to where she needed to be that day.  I did send her to school, which turned out is a big no-no.  Apparently they don't allow kids with splints or casts in school, without a doctor's note.  Who knew?  They did allow us for that day, which was good otherwise Sonya may have revolted.  Her class was having an ice cream sundae party that afternoon.  Yes, my daughter's life revolves around desserts.  

My in-laws took her to get x-rays after school, but since it was Friday afternoon there wasn't much to  do from there.  They told us, if it was broken it was a very small fracture.  We would have to make an appointment with the hand specialist for Monday.  In the meantime we were to ice it and keep her on Advil for pain.  According to the in-laws she was running around acting like nothing happened by Friday night.  Could have been all the ice cream though.  Because you know, it does fix everything.  

So yeah, everyone had their own separate issue last week.  It does always seem to happen that way.  They all get sick around the same time, which makes sense, but these were three separate issues for each kid.  At least it wasn't anything we couldn't handle though.  

I did take Sonya to the specialist on Tuesday.  He was a great doctor and what I loved most was that he talked directly to Sonya to ask her about her injury.  I had to hold myself back from jumping in.  She is 8 now, and can speak for herself.  He also showed us the x-ray and told her about what we were looking at.  The good news was there was no visible fracture.  However, because she is still growing there is a growth plate with a space between the plate and the bone on the x-ray, so there is a possibility there was a small break there, but he can't tell.  The only treatment was what we had already been doing.  A splint, this time a new one that fit her a bit better, and no baseball or gymnastics and by default, piano, for a bit.  When she feels like it's better she can play again, but not until then.  It's already looking much better.  The swelling is done and the purple has faded.  My mom guilt about going away for the weekend, while leaving her with a broken finger faded too.  Although that might have faded after that first glass of wine at the rehearsal dinner on Friday night.  And I couldn't leave this post without a big shout out for thanks to Robert and Julia, my in-laws, for taking good care of my girls over the weekend, but especially for dealing with the Sonya situation.  Thank you so much!!