Tuesday, January 27, 2015

an ava post

my little ava.

she just read the first harry potter book and LOVED it. this is one of those me-mom moments when i've been hoping i'd have a kid who liked to read, and really, really hoped that those harry potter books would be some of the books she'd really like. you guys. it happened. she loved them. 

in the third grade the kids choose someone who has contributed to society and they write a short speech and then dress up like their hero and recite their speech. it's called wax museum and ava is excited. she comes home with a packet of papers and excitedly tells me that she is going to be jk rowling. 

"there was a list!" she tells me, shuffling her papers and following me around the kitchen, "and i picked jk rowling. no one else wanted to be here! i can't imagine why, she's the most amazing author-- she wrote my favorite books! i think she's the best!" 

to hear her chatter so happily, so quickly, to see her be so excited for a book series? i am in mother heaven. it is such a fun thing to see your children find passion in good things and the fact that i love these good things too? it is priceless.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

thriving in 2015

2014 was not a year of accomplishment. maybe i can flatter myself and say it was a year of building up to something bigger but if I'm going to be honest, 2014 was a year of survival. And that is what I did last year, I survived. 

Life seemed to consist of me and a very large list of things to cross off and a very large list of obstacles to keep me from being accomplished. And I spent a lot of time being focused on that list and avoiding those obstacles. 

I spent the majority of the year trying to get things done that aren't meant to stay done in the first place. Things like clean kitchens, folded laundry, doctors appointments, library storytimes, homework, play dates...and in my quest for completed to-do lists I forgot to let go. I placed a lot of pressure on myself and made a lot of demands. I stressed. a lot. 

So this year, in 2015, things are going to be different. i'm throwing out my standards and i'm going to let go of my obsessive need to coplete tasks. instead, i'm going to try to get the things done that need to be done and then, i'll enjoy life. i'll watch the kids play together and soak in their love for each other instead of seeing it as an opportunity to fold a load of laundry. i'm going to fix dinner when people are hungry and, if the children aren't feeling like waiting an hour for a pan of enchiladas to be done, then we'll just have grilled cheese. or cheese, if they're really that hungry. 

maybe this is what i'm taking away from 2014: my children are young. there are four of them. i have a lot of things that are pulling me in different directions. instead of doing it all and barely feeling like i'm surviving, i'm going to do the most important stuff and enjoy the rest. i'm going to thrive. 

and that's what i wrote on the little chalkboard that hangs in the dining area so i could see it every day. let go of what i think the perfect mother of four should be doing and just do what needs to be done, while enjoying what's going on around me. 

and yeah, i've already failed. the last two days have been deflating. by the time ryan gets home i have little to nothing left and sarah's busy doing something destructive and/or naughty. but we had a GREAT day yesterday. but there's today to do better, and tomorrow, too. 

monthly challenge pt 3, street photography

street photography. as i understand it, it is life as it is (no posing) in public places, but with a story being told, or some emotion being conveyed. i've always loved street photography, since i first fell in love with photography through national geographic and when i was a young girl i day dreamed of traveling on assignment with my pen and my camera and capturing the world as it really is and sharing it with people. still daydream about that, actually. 

street photography is a little scary. i didn't want to scare of offend by taking their photographs without asking, i didn't want people to feel like their lives were on exhibit, or that i was judging them. so i started my first street photography excursion at a gig. i was hired by the knights of columbus to photograph a march for life (pro-life), since i was in the city and since there were all kinds of people all around me, i figured why not throw in a couple photographs for me (the "life is beautiful" guy is my favorite). next time i'll be braver and do something without 10,000 people i'm being paid to photograph. 

i want to write more on this experience, since it was such a wonderful one, and i learned so much, but the children need breakfast and this challenge is supposed to be shared today. 

see who else participated: 

Monday, January 19, 2015

music monday- tori amos, smells like teen spirit

call me crazy, being the child of the 80's and 90's like i was, but i don't really appreciate kurt cobain like my peers. i don't know why.maybe because i wasn't there. maybe because he looks like an addict who hasn't howered. maybe because i don't really understand what teen spirit smells like.

or i do. when tori amos sings about it. i L-O-V-E-D tori amos as a teenager. everything she did. i owned all her albums, most of her singles and some bootleg stuff, too. i spent so many hours combing the cd sections looking for something of hers that i didn't already own, versions of songs i had heard existed but didn't know how to find. like her version of joni mitchell's "case of you" (mitchells was better, sorry tori) and this, nirvana's "smells like teen spirit", where tori sings, with an appropriate amount of angst and her usual haunting piano. so good.

Friday, January 9, 2015

christmas vacation, part three

ryan's cousin lives only two hours away in frazier park and the very end of our heavenly christmas break we packed it up and went out for a visit to the snow (and rob, whitney and hailey). it was the best. first of all, the drive isn't too long, so the kids don't lose their sanity on the drive up (yay), but then they were all so enamored with the great room rob and whitney have for guests that they were absolutely thrilled, even when we weren't do anything special. my favorite part? putting children to bed and staying up to play games and watch a movie. it's been so long since we did something like that with another couple and i really, really had a fun time.

there was only about an inch of snow on half of rob and whitney's driveway, but my children, being the little sunny southern californians that they are, thought it was amazing. they spent some time cheering, tossing tiny handfuls into the air and admiring their footprints (my favorite part, too). so when we managed to feed and pack children up and take them to a friend's house who actually had a bit more snow (and a plastic sled!) they were thrilled. well, kate was for only about five minutes. then she was cold and we sat in the car with the heater and muppets christmas carol.
snow on ava's head.
driveway snow and whitney
kate in the snow...before she got cold

a snow fight...ava and seth embraced the snow wholly. especially seth, who would just throw himself down and roll around.

ryan made kate a snowman. since the snow was so powdery, it was tough. and short-lived. rob and whitney's dog, scout, took a shining to our little snowman and snapped it up.
kate and her little snowman
snow angels
rob and baby hailey, who is wearing her mom's gloves
we had a rough time finding enough snow to ride down, but ryan and rob rigged some snow on the side of the road into a decent run. the kids didn't know any better and loved every second.

i took this right before we left, when ava was not amused that we were not staying longer. i think she wanted to move right in, especially when whitney mentioned the horses.

now we are back to school, to work, to life and responsibility in general. i'm trying to not let it get to me. but really, the waking up every day with nothing scheduled, having pancakes and trying to to decide if we're going to take a hike first and read a book after? or book first and hike second? can't be beat. i'm looking forward to next year. 
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