Family Reunion

17 Jul

Twenty-seven members of Mike’s family gathered in Sheboygan, Wisconsin last week for a family reunion. Mike’s grandma (and her sister), her three so and spouses, their kids and spouses, and our kids shacked up in an amazing mansion on Lake Michigan for four days of togetherness. It was the second time we’ve done it (last time was in 2013 in the Wisconsin Dells; Wisconsin is convenient for the many midwestern members of the family) and this time was maybe even more fun.

The house was beautiful and super fancy. We had lots of yummy food. There were drinks a plenty, excursions to town, and even a massive water balloon fight!

Michaela got to know her great grandma and great uncles better, to spend time with her grandparents and cousins, and to see a part of the country we’d otherwise probably not visit. I got to spend time with more than two dozen in-laws, and also to sleep in and read a couple of books and magazines!

I feel really lucky to have married into such a good group of people.

Big Heart

10 Jul

Mike, Michaela, and I are in Chicago on vacation. At the beginning of the trip, Michaela found a penny, which is always an exciting thing. She tucked it in the pocket of her jeans and forgot about it.

Tonight we were walking around the city and passed a homeless person. I honestly didn’t notice — there’s a lot to look at and I was tired after taking more than 20,000 steps! We got to the corner and waited for the light to turn green. All of a sudden, Michaela started tugging on my arm, asking if she could go back. I told her no, the light changed, and we started walking. As we walked, I asked her why she wanted to go back.

“I have a penny in my pocket, Mommy, and I want to give it to that homeless person! She looked really sad.”

We’d gone too far at that point, so I told her if she saw another person she wanted to give her penny to, she could. A few blocks down, there was a street performer doing magic tricks. We stopped to watch (Michaela LOVES magic) and she dropped the penny, which she’d been fiddling with, in the bushes. She cried these great big tears, not because she lost her penny, but because that meant she wouldn’t be able to help someone.

She’s such a sweetheart.

Project: Refresh Living Room

4 Jul

When we moved into our house more than three years ago, it was pretty “done.” All the popcorn had been removed from ceilings, the walls painted, new granite in the kitchen, etc. We did a kitchen renovation a year ago, but that’s about it, partly because the house doesn’t need much and partly because we’re thinking about moving again (which is a story for another day).

Last fall we created a cozy nook off our dining room, which is my favorite part of the house, style-wise. I painted a teal-ish accent wall, we got some comfortable chairs and a gorgeous lamp, and it is a great place to sit and read the paper. It feels really… pulled together.

That’s a feeling that has been lacking in our living room. We have the TV in there and a couch and loveseat. There’s also a console table that has two small lamps on it, a large bookshelf thing, and a few odds and ends. We spend a decent amount of time in there, mostly watching TV, but it has been sort of neglected. I have been on a kick to get an area rug for in there and have tossed around the idea of painting a wall or two. But Mike hasn’t been super keen on it, so “Project: Refresh Living Room” has just been languishing on my list.

Until today!

I realized a couple of weeks ago that we had some large frames at our old house that were just collecting dust in the garage. They’d look perfect on a bare wall of the living room, and would give me a place to display some of the awesome pictures Mike has taken on our various vacations. So today I hauled myself over to the old house, collected them, dusted them thoroughly and cleaned the glass inside and out, and took on the difficult task of doing all the math required to hang them all (evenly spaced from each other, level at the tops, at a point lower than the inset speakers on that particular wall). It was painstaking, but between my tape measure, calculator, pencil, masking tape, and level, it worked!

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I have to pick pictures still, and have them printed and put them into the frames, but even as-is, it’s a huge improvement. I’m so proud of my picture-hanging prowess!

 

Second Haircut

3 Jul

Yesterday Michaela had only her second-ever haircut. Her hair had been super long — down to her butt! — and she started saying she wanted to cut it for summer. I made an appointment with my hairstylist, who chopped off five inches!

But not before Michaela got to enjoy having her hair shampooed (always my favorite part. Head massage? Yes, please!)

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Michaela stood very patiently while her hair was cut. Cutting curly hair, especially on a squirmy 6-year-old, is no joke!

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When it was done, she was very excited.

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Much more so than when I asked to take a pic later and got the side eye. Literally.

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Summer Pops

3 Jul

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t attend my first symphony until well after I was 6 years old. Michaela, on the other hand, got to experience her first symphony last night, at Summer Pops.

The San Diego Symphony each year does a number of concerts at the Embarcadero, a bayfront park downtown. We were lucky enough to be invited to sit in the “Champagne Chalet,” which featured a private bar and dining experience, and comfortable chairs and plush blankets for after the sun went down. Michaela brought a friend and the two of them listened to the selection of patriotic tunes (this being the weekend before the 4th of July and all) while dancing and enjoying some of the free food. The night was capped off by a fireworks display while the Symphony played “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

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Happy birthday, America!

Garden Update

29 Jun

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’m in love with my garden. It hasn’t been quite as prolific as I’d hoped, but some things have produced or promise to soon.

We’ve enjoyed probably a dozen strawberries so far this season. And by “we,” I mean Michaela, who has eaten them all. (She did give me one bite of one.)

My beefsteak tomatoes have just started reddening. The plant is huge and heavy with fruit.

My cherry tomatoes are still green, but will be red soon enough.

I’ve gotten one green pepper off that plant. The red one is growing but no peppers yet. Ditto my eggplant; it’s growing well but nothing to eat at this point.

The herbs are a mixed bag. The basil is doing well. The rosemary is a close second. I hit a rough patch on watering the container plants (everything else is on sprinklers), which were mostly herbs (and lettuce and spinach), so they haven’t produced anything to speak of.

I’ve really enjoyed the process of taking care of the garden. In fact, the other day, I came home from work and, after dinner, spent a couple of hours weeding and tending to the plants. It’s a lovely summertime activity!

 

We are Family

24 Jun

Hello from Santa Fe, New Mexico!

Michaela and I are here with Mike’s mom and her 13-year-old granddaughter (Mike’s stepsister’s daughter). We decided to take a girls’ trip together, so Michaela and I flew here and Nana and Sydney drove down from Denver. We’re staying in a beautiful home that we rented, 10 minutes’ walk from Santa Fe’s main plaza.

As the four of us have gone around together, it’s been fun to see people try to figure out our relationship. There have been a lot of “Are you all together?” comments, and many puzzled looks. I guess it’s unusual to see a 60-something white lady, a 30-something brown lady, 13-year-old white girl (who is gorgeous and looks much older), and a 6-year-old brown girl (who also looks much older) stalking turquoise stores and art galleries.

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Happy Father’s Day

19 Jun

Father’s Day is the one time a year where I *might* make two meals that require actual cooking (vs. school days, when I make a bowl of cereal and something for Michaela’s lunch).

What can I say? I’m lucky to be married to Mike! That’s why the point of today was to spoil him.

This morning, I made bacon, blueberry muffins, and a goat cheese and pepper scramble, plus fresh OJ with oranges from our tree.

For dinner, I made chicken Madeira with mushrooms, steamed asparagus, and mashed potatoes.

And now I am pooped!

We had a very nice day, though. For some crazy reason, after we all slept until 8:30 yesterday, we were all awake at 6:45 this morning. Michaela gave Mike one of his presents and then I started working on breakfast while they lazed around. After breakfast, Mike opened more presents, then we lazed some more. Eventually we got dressed and spent hours looking at various open houses, before coming home for Mike to take a nap, Michaela to watch her tablet, and me to start cooking. They’re off on a walk and I’m watching the last minutes of Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

Hope you had a similarly happy Father’s Day!

Get Involved

18 Jun

Michaela and I went to the movies last night, to see “Finding Dory” for a friend’s (of Michaela’s) birthday. It was lovely– six, 6-year-olds excited to be at the opening night of the movie, their parents happy to see each other, and cool air conditioning at the start of a weekend that’s supposed to be dangerously hot.

You know how most theaters these days have an area on the floor and then the rows start to go up, stadium-style? Michaela and I ended up sitting in the bottom row of the stadium-style part. I was on the aisle and she was next to me, on my left. When you walk in the theater, down the long walkway, and finally emerge into the part where you can watch a movie… our seats would be on your left, and we’d be the first people you would see upon walking in.

It scares me and it makes me angry and it pains me to say that as we sat there, I thought, “if someone came in wanting to shoot this place up, we would be the first ones shot.” I looked around for exits, I thought about which way I would tell Michaela to run, I pondered what I had on me that I could use to try to distract or injure the shooter (just my purse).

I hate that this has become a part of our lives. I hate that there are people who place the right to own guns over the right to enjoy a movie. I hate that there are so many people who are angry, who take their anger out on innocent people. I hate that so many people can’t get mental health services until it’s too late. And I’m tired of waiting for other people to fix this problem. I’m getting involved. You should, too.

Gay Paris

4 Jun

I’ve told Michaela for years that when she turns 13, she and I are going to take a girls’ trip to Paris, just the two of us. This week, she and I were at dinner (Mike was working) and we had this conversation, completely out of the blue:

Michaela: Mom?

Me: Yes?

Michaela: Are we going to go to Paris?

Me: Yes. When you’re 13, we’ll take a trip there together.

Michaela: But mom? Why wait until I’m 13? I’ve already been on a plane, and I’ve already been to Europe… Can we go sooner?

Me: You’ll have to ask Daddy about that.

She’s a clever girl, my daughter. And I love traveling, and loved Paris, so she’ll not get any arguments out of me about going sooner!