Monday, August 31, 2009


life is short. grab it by the horns. don't wait for tomorrow, live loud.

this is seriously what has been crossing my mind for days. first the anniversary of robert's uncle's death. it was surreal going back to his home a couple weeks back to help go through his belongings. strange to see pictures, dating back years, before kids, after kids, recent ones with his youngest two kids, including the one who will only have pictures of his daddy, too young to remember him.

then learning about the very recent death of a child, or should i say young man, who grew up on my hometown street. i remember his parents, walking by his home on walks with my high school boyfriend, talking to his mom about her boys throughout the years, hearing how they were growing up. all were younger than me, the last being 7 years younger. learned about his (the youngest's) passing almost on accident, a former classmate went to the memorial and wrote about it. learned the details, and had a weird trip down memory lane went i went to post my regards on the memorial site, and saw the names of parents who used to be the room moms, the pta volunteers, the ones that helped all the time. saw names of people i knew way back when, before the life here in k town.

its a reminder that we're all connected. we have an impact, both visible and invisible, always there.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Grooving, or so I think

After this past week, I feel that having a school age child is similar to having a baby, all over again. The great unknown is upon us, lots of paperwork, appointments, not knowing logistics besides the bare minimum, eat, sleep, and shower, and a level of chaos-or at least that's how its been during the past week. Life was forever changed when we went to orientation last week, and I don't think any of us really had a clue as how even though some things stayed the same, a lot changed. Getting into a groove has been a challenge, if only because there are three little boys who have their own set of expectations and needs and one set of parents to figure how to meet them. That is a mouthful right there! I felt like I needed to take a break from blogging, if only to help get the kids on track. Now it feels like we're on a more even keel, so I can resume some things that help me stay sane.

This past week we've experienced a shift in our family dynamics. M and G appear to be more independant, wishing to do more, be more involved, and while that's great to have helpers, well, it takes getting used to. E's going through a new developmental phase, so his attitude and demeanor are evolving, combined with a push for more independance too. R's off at school and work a couple nights a week, and those make for long days, and longer nights. We are tweaking a routine that seems to work for us, keeping our household flowing, with more laughter and less fraught nerves, making for organized chaos.

I've found the Flylady approach to doing dishes and laundry the night before (my shiny sink) and preparing lunch (and crock pot dinners too)the night before makes our mornings and days relaxed. I have been utilizing the crock pot for dinners on soccer practice nights, and that has made a world of difference (in comparison to the first night that was stress city for me). I have also set aside space for M and G to have their soccer and backpack items, feeding on their desire on independance and my need to really let go of the control and assist in them being responsible for their possessions. We're taking a relaxed approach to activities, doing Moms Club, playgroup, and soccer. Other things will come into play, PTA, side work, trying to make "me" time, stuff will come up. Its not an easy adjustment by any means, but last night I felt like I could finally breathe, I knew what is beginning to work, and how it brings a sign of peace to our family. I can reintroduce things that were fun and get us out of the house more. The weather will be cooling down soon, I hope, and while I love hanging out with the kids at home, hanging out with friends at the park or just getting out of the house for the morning and afternoon make a world of difference for all of us.

So getting into a groove-it's happening. Just like having a baby, life was turned upside down. But like it did with having M, life resumed, and did as well after our other two boys. Now we're on the road to enjoying this new adventure, and all the trials and tribulations that come with it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Growing up

This week has been a whirlwind, and so it seems this is going to be our life for the umpteen years ahead. Last night as I readied for bed, I thought how crazy today would be-its a new chapter in our lives as a family, as parents, and for our children.

We had parent orientation this morning, followed by meet the teacher with Matthew, and soccer this evening. I was nervous about how it would go, what is expected of us as parents, what's expected of our child, and how well this school would fit with us. Its part of a charter school district, and this school consists of one grade level (and all the students will move together, to each school as they progress through the grades), so there is flexibility in how things are done, while exceeding the requirements of the state. I was a bit nervous to hear about first book reports, special projects, and family activities, but then again, Matthew's ready. He's ready to learn, ready to explore, ready to develop a broader sense of the world. I can't hold him back, nor do I want to. I asked him this morning, as I have several times throughout the summer about taking the bus to school. My child, the one who runs up to me after preschool, big grin on his face, wants to take the bus in the morning. I asked him again, saying "Don't you want mommy to take you-No, I want to take the bus with my friends." I filled out the form for bussing, and will hand it to Matthew's teacher in the morning. If it doesn't work out, then I'll take him. In the meantime, I'll walk him around the corner to the bus stop and wait with the other parents who live nearby.

Meanwhile, at school there are many familiar faces (thanks to preschool) and many new ones too. We met several parents, and I ran into a mom I know in town. Our boys are next door to each other, so we'll see each other at pick up time. I sent my paperwork to be a parent volunteer in the classroom, and applied to be a room mom. I also applied to be in the PTA and the council who volunteers in the district. So many volunteer opportunities, I wonder how its going to pan out. I know I need this though, its in my nature to get involved, plus I really want to impact what's done in our district.

I loved Matthew's teacher. She's been teaching for 25 years, and I've heard rave reviews from people at soccer practice to the teachers at preschool, about her teaching methods and personality. She's personable, approachable, willing to work with parents and children, and is enthusiastic about teaching children. I feel confident about her, and Matthew was relaxed in the classroom, and reluctant to leave when it was time to go, I know he felt comfortable there too.

Tomorrow is going to be an emotional day, that I know. It feels like just yesterday I was pregnant with him while in grad school, and then pushing him across campus in his stroller. Now its his turn. He's always talking about bein a big kid now, and I know its time to let him go, he's ready to explore. Time to turn the page, and celebrate this unwritten chapter, and all the stories yet to come.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer weekend

This weekend went quickly, in the blink of an eye. We did a weekend jaunt to Sacramento, the weather was beautiful, and not too warm, and the scenery was green (compared to the brown we see here this time of year). I spent time with my MIL and Robert's aunt, had a trip to IKEA to buy the coat hanger for M's closet), and enjoyed a homemade dinner of meatballs and spaghetti and homemade apple pie. It was a nice visit, and gave me inspiration for the dreams I want to accomplish as I get older.

We went grocery shopping today, and I rocked the Kellogs cereal deal. I also replenished our pantry which we've been living out of this summer, as I haven't gone to Vons in nearly 6 weeks. Its been a nice break, but I loved getting some much needed pantry items for dirt cheap. I also found food for the food pantry in town; we'll drop that off this week. After, we hit up Costco for our pershisable needs, and then came home. It was quite freeing not needing to go shopping for school supplies this week, although I'll hit Walgreens this week for their $5 backpacks for the fundraiser this weekend. I was hoping they would go on sale, as I knew it would go nicely with all the school supplies we've acquired in the past month. I'm keeping my eyes open for a durable label maker, other than that, M and G have several lunch boxes here to choose from, as well as our collection of backpacks, so we're good to go for preschool and kindergarten. Its hard to believe how fast this past year went, seems like just yesterday M was going to pre-k, and now its G's turn with M's teachers, and M is off to new adventures. E is growing up too, looking forward to perhaps him going into the toddler program when he turns two in the fall. He's already loving the space and the teachers, he is just too young to be there-so much for being a baby, or wanting to stay in one place, that kid wants to do fun stuff! Wow, more reason to soak up the summer while we can.

We came home for naps, and then had a free dinner at Cattlemans Steakhouse. The boys were well behaved, and everyone had a nice time. The report was simple, and it was a nice break from eating at home. This week we'll be doing more of that, except for when I go to the mountains tomorrow (or the water park, haven't decided yet) and Monterey on Wednesday (or Friday, depending on playgroup). We'll adjust, I bought healthy no cook food at Vons today, so we may just pack a picnic dinner with us. It'll be a full, adventurous week, and I am looking forward to making more summer memories with my boys.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Eye opening, life affirming time

The past two weeks have been a busy two weeks. Its been an eye opening, life affirming two weeks. I testified in divorce court about the breakdown of my parents marriage, I spent time with my dad and his girlfriend, time with my husband, and plenty of time with my children. We've had trips to the beach, to a Japanese garden, to the mountains, even to a tiny taco stand in Los Banos. I've given thought to goals I want to achieve, places I want to visit, and enjoying each day as it comes. I've seen how a house is not necessarily a home, how having the finer things in life is not necessarily the most expensive, and how decisions, well decisions can always be remade.

I don't know what the future holds, but I'm glad I have a supportive partner by my side. It strikes me as eerie how as I was calling R this morning, he was headed back out to the car. This is after both of us walking out of an appointment two weeks ago. We're on the same page, and while I know both of said are saying one thing to another, deep down, we're not ready to shut the door. Talk about mind blowing. Still, we're enjoying each day as it comes, relishing the life with our three boys, boys that are full of life, and wonder, and talk about the silliest of things. Our life is chaotic, but a fun chaotic.

Our lives are about to get busier, but in a different way, with school starting on August 19th (the official first day). We've spent more time outdoors this summer than in, more out of the house than in, and our days and nights have been fun. The switch to being at home will be different, but at the same time, there's only certain times we will have to be home. I truly feel that we'll figure out a new way of accomplishing what needs to get done. The next two weeks are just as busy as the past two weeks. We have a trip to Sacramento, two trips to Monterey, and possibly a trip to San Jose/Santa Cruz or Pismo. Fun! Fill in the gaps with playdates and social activities, mom night outs and fundraisers, and call it a month full of summer memories.

This month is a reward for all the work we've put into changing our spending habits. We paid for a $400 car repair with cash, and lived to see the next day unscathed. We have one more payment on one debt (dental), and are squared away with ending a couple more by October. Its very exciting, more so since I feel we're ahead of schedule. My birthday gift from my husband and children is the entrance fee for a half marathon-I'm excited about this gift to myself, because its something that speaks volumes about how I want to live my 30s.

While all this is good, there is also sad. Death, trials and tribulations, family angst, its here. We're pulling together the best way we know how, and rolling with the tide. I believe things have a way of working out, and all the struggles we face, we face for a purpose. I accept what is, and will believe things will pan out the way they should. Silver linings are sometimes near invisible, but they do exist. Such as today's.