Something cool about the Bay Area? We have not one, but two baseball teams. You have your choice of the A's or the Giants. It's just not summer around here unless you go to see them play. Steve and Dane went and partook of America's favorite pastime, and had a fun afternoon of male bonding and junk food eating. The A's beat the Twins, so it was a good day to be watching baseball in the Bay Area.
It would be difficult not to catch a foul ball when your seats are this good
My house is full of noise and dirty laundry, that can only mean that my campers are home. They are simultaneously happy to be home and sad that camp is over. I won't lie, I'm happy they're back. Silence is overrated. When we got to camp and saw Dagny hurtling down the hill toward us I realized that it had been a really long week. We found Dane in line for lunch with a plate of food in his hand, when he saw us he handed his plate to Steve and hugged me. I was touched that I came before his hot dog. We all ate together then the kids gave us a tour of the camp and introduced us to their friends. Then it was time for us to see a little part of what they had been up to all week. We watched Dagny act/recite a poem, after that we saw Dane perform in a stage combat scene, and then listened to Dagny sing with a rock band. Amazing, all of it. On the drive home they took turns telling their camp stories. There was so much laughter and positivity, I'd say camp was a huge success. I can't believe that in just a week they grew up so much. They both seem so much older and more mature. I guess all those new experiences will do that to you.
*I took lots of pictures but they all include kids that are not my own. I am still unclear on the ethics of posting pictures of other people's kids without permission. To be on the safe side I won't post any pics of random minors.
Blogging about blogging is a bit ridiculous, but on this, my 100th post, I have a few things to say on the subject. I joined the blogging world with a great deal of trepidation, I just wasn't sure if sharing my private life was something that I wanted to do. In the last 6 months I've learned that sharing isn't a bad thing, it's actually kind of fun. I like the ways that having a forum to express myself has altered my life. My perspective has changed, I look at the everyday moments of life in a different way. The blog has affected my whole family. They're always interested in what I'm posting and they all secretly love it when they are the 'star' of the blog. (especially Dane, he'll do just about anything if I'll blog about it.) They have never vetoed a picture or asked me not to post something, they're good sports about the whole thing. While they are up for anything, I think I tend to censor myself. I feel like I'm still finding my voice, and my goal for the next 100 posts is to share more of my opinions and lay it all out there. I'm very opinionated, it's going to get interesting.
Thanks to all of you that have been along for the ride so far. I love reading your comments and hearing what you have to say, and in turn learning something about you. I read lots of blogs by people that I don't know, and I never leave them comments. The term for that is 'blog-stalking'. I've decided to come out of the stalking closet and comment on those blogs that I read and enjoy. There is no shame in blog-stalking, but if you're here, leave some comments and join the party.
Gavin has a morning routine. He and Steve wake up before the rest of us, they go downstairs and Gavin does his outside business, hangs out while Steve has breakfast, then heads upstairs and jumps on Dane's bed and sleeps there until Dane gets up. With Dane being gone, Gavin has had to find another person to share his morning nap with. That would be me. This is not necessarily a bad thing, (he's quite snuggly and a good nap partner) except that I have been sleeping in because I haven't been sleeping at night. Gavin usually sleeps in his crate in Dane's room. While Dane is gone, we brought his crate into our room, and Gavin sleeps at the foot of our bed. (he doesn't like sleeping alone, it makes him cry) The downside to this is that the dog snores. Really loud. Dane sleeps like the dead, nothing wakes his up, so he's the perfect roommate for Gavin. Not so much with me. Ever since I had kids the slightest noise wakes me up. I have like super-sonic, nighttime, mommy hearing. That isn't a bad thing when you're dealing with babies, but it's a definite negative when dealing with a snoring Frenchie. What to do? I'm thinking earplugs, and possibly an afternoon nap.
Hear that? That is the sound of silence. It is the absence of yelling, singing, video game sounds, door slamming, question asking, fighting... It is the absence of kids in the house. So far, it is a beautiful thing. A downside to not having the kids around is that you have to do all of their chores. Steve is Dane for the week, and I'm Dagny. Lucky for me, Dane does way more jobs than Dagny, and his jobs include the cat's litter box and cleaning up after the dog. (I really dodged that bullet) A part of me feels like I should accomplish something while I have no kids around, but the other side of me is lazy and feels like doing nothing or doing anything I want. Yesterday I had the urge to cook so I planned a menu, shopped, prepped, and made quite an amazing meal. I've always said that it's not that I can't cook, it's that I choose not to. That proved to be true, apparently I can cook. Steve was quite impressed. All that time I spent watching the Food Network wasn't a waste, I learned a few things. I surprised myself with the quality of food I produced and by the amount of enjoyment I got out of the process. I might have to start cooking more often. We ate my fabulous dinner by candlelight in the dining room, very romantic. My child-free week has been lovely and peaceful, but it's only Tuesday. By tomorrow I'll start missing the kids, I'm not quite ready for a full-time empty nest.
The first time I sent the kids to sleep-away camp I wanted to make sure that they were fully prepared with everything they could possibly need. I followed the packing list the camp provided and made sure they had everything on the list, and it was all expertly folded and labeled. When we picked them up from camp Dane was wearing the same outfit that he was wearing the day he left. In his suitcase everything was still neatly folded. I learned several lessons from that experience;
at camp boys don't change their underwear everyday
packing lists are guidelines, not rules
no matter how much preparation I do I can't control everything
I was much more relaxed getting the kids ready for camp this year. In fact, I even let them help. That's personal growth. One of the things that helped me be relaxed in my preparations and also have less anxiety about them being gone, is knowing that they are going to SDC. The first camp I sent the kids to a few years ago was a disaster, it was the wrong place for them. We chalked it up to a learning experience (they learned things they shouldn't have, and I learned how to pick better camps) and moved on. This week they will be at the perfect place for them, I feel very lucky to have found it. It has all the quintessential outdoor summer camp activities, but it's actually a performing arts camp. It attracts talented, interesting kids and gives them an opportunity to learn and perform in a fun, supportive atmosphere. I'm not worried about them at all, Dagny and Dane are going to have a great week. Now that they're gone I can concentrate on the child-free week ahead. My mind reels at all the possibilities...
One of the reasons we moved to California all those years ago was to live near Steve's family. That's worked out pretty well. Dagny and Dane have a great relationship with their grandpa, and they have something not everyone has, a Great Grandmother. Grandma recently celebrated her 93rd birthday. Her memory isn't that great, but her sense of humor is intact. When we talked about how old she was, she said, "I'm over the hill!" She may be over the hill, but she's still a wonderful Grandma.
Congratulations are in order, Gavin is a father! Olive gave birth to 3 boys and a girl and everyone is healthy and doing well. Cindy was nice enough to send us the first photo's, only look at them if you can handle the cute.
Some thoughts on books and movies and the ties that bind
Dagny has a rule, she won't see the movie unless she's read the book. There are times when Dagny won't watch movies of favorite books because she doesn't want a bad movie to ruin her memories of the book. Dagny just finished reading Gone With The Wind and then watched the movie for the first time. I don't think she was disappointed in either one. It was such pleasure to watch it with her, I loved seeing her reaction and listening to her opinions. I have seen the movie, and read the book, countless times. It was a part of my childhood, and now it's part of hers. I love that Dagny appreciates good literature and classic movies, she's awesome like that.
The major Tahitian competition that the Halau participates in every year is Tahiti Fete, and it's always held over the 4th of July weekend. We usually spend the 4th in San Jose either preparing for, dancing at, or watching, Fete. This year Tahiti Fete was cancelled, and we had to figure out what to do with all our free time. Somehow it was decided that the thing to do was go to the county fair. Steve takes the kids to the fair every summer, but I haven't gone with them in years. As you can guess, it's really not my thing. To the surprise of all involved, today I decided to join them. I'm all for a fun family outing, even if there are smelly animals involved. Steve and the kids really know what they want out of their fair experience. They are there to eat fair food, see the animals and exhibits, and they don't waste their time riding the rides. The animals were interesting, the food was sinfully good, it wasn't too hot, it wasn't crowded, we had a great time. For us, the county fair and fireworks is an unusual way to celebrate the 4th of July. I'm sure we'll be back to normal next year.
yes, that is a deep fried Reese's peanut butter cup
The official story of the reunion is that we went and had a great time with the whole family, which is true, but it's also true that we enjoyed some people more than others. The highlight of the reunion for my family was hanging out with my sister Sabrina and her family. They went out of their way to spend time with us, feed us, and make us feel at home. The best thing of all was Dane and his cousin Kendrick. They were inseparable from the moment they saw each other, they really had a good time together. My new best friend is my 5 year old niece Brigitta. She and I are both the youngest of 7 kids, we understand each other. Her mom is lucky I didn't try to bring her home with me. Sabrina has a big, tight-knit, fun, family and we loved being part of it for a few days. Sadly, I don't have any pictures of me with Sabrina, I guess we were too busy talking to stop and pose for a picture.
We spent the weekend in Tucson with my family celebrating my parents 50th wedding anniversary. We actually had a really good time. We rented a house, and my parents and my sister Desiree and her family all stayed with us. That meant that we got to have quality time with all of them, there was lots of late night chatting and too little sleep. With all those people there Dagny and Dane got a little taste of what it's like in a big family - like waiting in line for the bathroom. The reunion itself was great. We haven't all been together in 5 years, so it was pretty amazing to see everyone in the same place. I had absolutely no responsibilities at this reunion, all I had to do was show up. My oldest sister (Hi, Sabrina) took care of everything. I got to participate in all the activities and then just hang out and talk. There is a great deal of organization that goes into a gathering like this, I appreciated all the hard work that went on behind the scenes. We really had fun, we laughed a lot, ate some really good food, and were reminded that our family is a lot bigger than just the 4 of us.