Monday, October 20, 2014

a camping we will go

Little Miss J has been asking to go camping since this summer. Too much watching Max and Ruby and the Bunny Scouts, I suspect. I saw this quote on someone's Facebook page a few months back and it pretty much hit the nail on the head.

 And to be completely honest, it's not the money that is the problem. It is the sheer amount of effort it takes to plan a trip to live like a homeless person. It's not like I don't love a good campfire, it's simply that it seems like a waste to spend all that time putting up a tent for one or two nights. And trust me, if Gus and I are going to take a week off of work, we probably are not going camping. Despite camping A LOT as kids, neither one of us are particularly seasoned campers nor have we ever desired to be.

Cue Basecamp Hotel in South Lake Tahoe. We took the kids camping Chunglund style.

there was a tent

and a campfire
and s'mores
and hiking
and nature

strategically taken selfies

look at all this nature!
Little Miss J had a fun time, but I will admit that after about the fifth time each of them work up (and these were not concurrent awakenings), I was about to pull a Lenartz and pack it up and head home in the middle of the night. But we stuck it out and on Sunday went to the Taylor Creek Visitor center for a little hiking walking.

We saw salmon spawning at Taylor Creek, which meant (1) an obscene amount of fish swimming around in a rather small area and (2) an obscene amount of dead fish floating around being eaten by ducks. Circle of life people. It ain't pretty. I had to explain to Gus that the fish were dead and not actually "sleeping."

Moral of the story? I can barely handle the great indoors, let alone the great outdoors, with two kids.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

once upon a time

Little Miss J informed me this morning that she will be changing her name to "Princess Sparkle Ballerina J." She then asked me if I liked the name, to which I responded in the affirmative. She must not have been convinced because she said, "Do you REALLY like my new name?" Given her new name, it seems only fitting that she had a princess and pirate birthday party last weekend.

yo ho ho & once upon a time

captain hook ring toss

tattoo artist Gus


frozen fractals?
make a wish!
2 birthday cakes in 2 weeks makes J2 a happy boy

And she lived happily ever after ... with Incredible Hulk.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

holding on and letting go

Dear Mom,
My little princess, the one and only Little Miss J, turns 4 tomorrow and that means we've spent another year missing you terribly. I find so much significance in the fact that I became a mom on the anniversary of your death. While one door had closed another had swung wide open to fill my heart with a new love. While it hasn't made me miss you any less, becoming a mom has made me feel closer to you even when you are gone.
Little Miss J is my little mini me. So much so that I can truly empathize with nearly every emotion she has. Like when she clings to my neck and smothers my face in kisses telling me that she "just loves me so much." I remember feeling the exact same way about you and probably doing the exact same thing to you when I was that age. Gus has watched the old home videos of me and can attest to the fact that Little Miss J is exactly like me. Her constant chatter, her never ending need to be in the spotlight, and her sassy (but not necessarily in a bad way) little attitude, have also helped me understand why you used to buy those giant jugs of Ernst and Gallo. I finally understand your overprotective vigilance of my safety and I may be even more overprotective than you were ... if that is even possible. The thought of anything bad happening to my kids is paralyzing. I honestly don't know how you managed. Just last week Gus had to talk me off the ledge of being convinced that my kids were going to get Ebola.
Between chasing two little ones, working full time, and trying to be the best mom and wife that I can be, I am simply exhausted. But becoming a mom has brought with it a newfound sense of resiliency. You somehow just find the strength to play another game of Candyland or read another book or talk for another 5 minutes about your day. Were you always this tired? If so, I never really noticed. Don't get me wrong though, in spite of the sheer exhaustion I am so very very happy. My family brings me more joy than I could possibly put into words.
I'm sorry you aren't here to see the adorable little people I made. It is heartbreaking to know that they will never have the chance to know the person who helped shape their mom into the person she is today. J2 turned one year old two weeks ago and you would have just loved to see such a sweet and happy little boy. We made it to Minnesota this summer and got to spend some time with Ralph, so he's gotten to know both Little Miss J and J2 some.
Life seems to be a lot of holding on and letting go. Holding on tightly to all the memories and lessons I have of you and from you, but trying to let go of some of the pain that your absence brings. Holding on to my kids to keep them safe, but letting go to allow them to explore and develop their own little personalities.
Let's be honest. Not having you around sucks. I have so many people in my life who are and will be there for me - Amy, Gus's mom, Gail, Nancy, etc., and I love them all dearly, but quite simply, they just aren't you. I just miss you. That is all.
Please continue to watch over my little ones so they don't get hurt or get Ebola or enterovirus (uh, thanks Jenn). Oh, and you will be happy to know that David and I get along much better now.
love and miss you,

wordless wednesday (but not really)

Monday, October 6, 2014

birthday week begins

Little Miss J turns 4 on Thursday! She loves the store Claire's and has even made up her own song that goes something like ... "I get my jewelry at the mall." I told her on her birthday that she could go in and pick any four things, so Sunday after church I made good on that promise.

After much hmming and hawing and running around the store, she picked out a rainbow wand, matching rainbow crown, seahorse beanie baby, and a Rapunzel braid.

Next up, is preschool birthday treats, dinner at Mikuni (her choice), and a princess/pirate bash on Saturday. With my kids' birthdays two weeks apart, this mom is going to be happy when birthday season is over.