Wrapping Up Summer

23 Aug

I can’t say enough how much I have LOVED Michaela’s summer vacation!

Not having to wake up at 6 a.m. each day to make her breakfast and lunch and to get her ready for school?

Not having to come home and deal with homework?

Not having to coordinate appointments and events around her schedule, Mike’s schedule, and my schedule?

Priceless.

We do a good job of taking lots of trips, so it’s not (just) that I’ve enjoyed being able to travel this summer. I have, though– Michaela and I went to New Mexico, the three of us went to Chicago and Wisconsin for a family reunion, and Michaela flew to Colorado to spend more than a week with her Nana and Papa. That’s on top of other fun summer things like zoo camp, the symphony, playdates with friends, and more.

Maybe because summer has been so, so nice, I felt like we should do something special to say goodbye to what’s been a lovely nine weeks. That’s how last week ended up being an epic “goodbye to summer” week!

Wednesday: Michaela and I went to the Living Coast Discovery Center, where we were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour and got to feed the turtles.

Thursday: Michaela and her friend A went to a trampoline place, had Sonic for lunch, and then celebrated A’s birthday with dinner and playtime at Corvette Diner.

Friday: Mike, Michaela and I went to Disneyland! We rode more than 25 rides between Disneyland and California’ Adventure in about eight hours. It was fantastic! That night, we stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge, a waterpark resort, so Friday night, we squeezed in some water slides and lazy river time.

Saturday: The three of us spent all day at the waterpark, having a blast!

Sunday: I’m old and had to recover.

This week, Michaela is doing her second week of zoo camp. That ends Friday; I’ll be in Sacramento on Saturday and Sunday, but will be back in time to make her lunch for her first day of first grade on Monday, Aug. 29.

Goodbye, summer!

Gray Hairs

13 Aug

I got my hair done yesterday. Straightening treatment and a hair cut. It looks great.

I came home and Michaela looked at it intently. She said she liked it… Then she announced, “I see a gray hair, Mommy!”

I pounced, ready to give her a hard time about being the reason for my gray hairs.

“Do you know WHY I have gray hairs, Michaela?”

“Yes, Mommy. Because you’re OLD!”

What have I gotten myself into?!?

Maxin’ and Relaxin’

7 Aug

With Michaela being out of town, I find myself with fewer responsibilities and ample free time. I am definitely making the most of it, too.

Yesterday, I didn’t get out of bed until 9:30 a.m. I spent the whole day in my PJs, watching the Olympics. Woke up, had breakfast, watched sports. Had lunch, watched sports, took a nap. You know, because I was tried from all the lounging around and watching TV. Woke up from nap, watched sports. Got ready for and went to my high school reunion. Got home around 2:30 a.m. and went to bed.

Woke up this morning around 9 a.m.. Had breakfast, read the newspaper, watched the Olympics. It’s now 12:30 p.m. and, well, I’m in my PJs watching the Olympics. Later today, I’m going to see “Bad Moms” with friends and then I’ll come home and watch some more Olympics.

And while there are lots of things I could be doing – like yard work or finishing our taxes (which we still haven’t filed for 2015) or cleaning out the closet in our guest bedroom – I’m choosing to do nothing.

I NEVER have weekends like this, and it’s so, so nice. I feel rejuvenated and relaxed.

20-Year Reunion

7 Aug

Last night was my 20-year high school reunion. Attending it was on my “40 before 40″ list, so of course I went– and it was actually fun!

I wasn’t sure what it would be like. I didn’t enjoy the 10-year, but on the other hand, we’re older now…and many of us are connected on Facebook. So there’s a sense that you know some people, or at least some things happening in the lives of some people. I just didn’t know if that would make getting together in person easier, harder, weirder, or none of the above. And honestly, I’m still not sure.

That being said, one of my best friends from high school and I went together. Kevin picked me up, just like when we were in high school (when he drove and had a car and I didn’t), and we had a drink before the reunion. We talked about who we were looking forward to seeing, who wasn’t on the guest list, compared notes on who we keep up with. Then we headed into the venue and started to mingle.

The presence of cocktails helped take the edge off, as did seeing some old friends and caching up in more detail. There were some people who seemed excited to see me, who I wasn’t expecting to be excited, and that was nice. And of course there were people who didn’t say anything to me and who I didn’t say anything to. I guess some things never change.

We ended up staying until the very end, when the venue kicked us out. A group of very disparate people went out for 1 a.m. Mexican food– always the sign of a good time!

Kevin said after, it was a lot more “social” than he was expecting. That sums it up pretty well. I knew people would be there and we’d see people, but it was more convivial and friendly than I would have predicted. It makes me look forward to (gulp!) the 30-year reunion!

First Solo Flight

2 Aug

Today, Michaela took her first solo flight… to Denver, to visit her Nana and Papa.

Mike and I had talked about her going, but as it got closer, I got more and more nervous about Michaela flying. Not for any particular reason… After all, Michaela is a great traveler – she’s been to 13 states and 12 countries – and she’s a calm, levelheaded, good kid. Mostly it’s because I’m a mom and I worry!

Mike dropped Michaela off at my office before he had to head out of town. And from there, it was like a comedy of errors.

She and I headed to the airport, only to find awful traffic on the freeway. I ended up getting off the freeway to avoid the traffic and we made it to the airport, only to find that the only available parking spaces were in the far corner of the lot. We hauled ourselves into the airport, only to find a super long line to check in. Which we had to do, because unaccompanied minors can’t print boarding passes at home. We waited and waited and waited in line, finally talking to an agent 20 minutes before the flight was to board. Then it was off to security, only to find a line that wasn’t long but was slow-moving, and to have Michaela get selected to have her hands swabbed for explosives.

Because you know how six-year-olds are.

Once we were cleared, we hustled upstairs. It turns out that Mike hadn’t given her lunch and it was 5 p.m., so we ran through the bagel store (no time for toasting; “raw” bagel it was) and then hauled booty to the gate, where they were already boarding C 31-60 passengers.

Oy!

The gate agent was great, took Michaela in right away to get her seated. Except I was still holding the bagel I’d gotten for Michaela to eat for dinner, and she was gone. I was already feeling really emotional, so I got teary. One of the passengers in line had seen me drop Michaela off and said, “Unaccompanied minor? I’ve been there before. Here, I can give that to her.” He took the bagel from me, boarded the plane, that was that.

I’m thankful for the kindness of strangers.

I stuck around until the plane pushed back from the gate and am now waiting anxiously for Michaela to call me once she’s on the ground in Denver.

We made it through our first solo flight!

5K Finish

30 Jul

Michaela and I participated in the Live Well San Diego 5K today, a run/walk held in conjunction with the San Diego Blood Bank. We walked it, and had a great time doing so!

We had to wake up at 5:45 to get up, dressed, and to the event on time to pick up our packets and meet the time, and we were out late last night, but she was a champ. I know Michaela can cover a decent amount distance. When we were in Istanbul, in Barcelona… heck, in Chicago… we walked all over the place. But I also know she’s a kid and can get whiny. That’s why I was really impressed by how well she did today.

I didn’t track how long it took us to do the 3.2-ish miles, but I can tell you that we stayed after for a fun street fair-like event with a ton of vendors and lots of giveaways. Between all the free stuff and a giant inflatable obstacle course and nearby park, Michaela said she was really glad she did the 5K. I am, too!

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Biting her medal a la her favorite tennis player, Rafael Nadal.

 

 

Zoo Camp!

28 Jul

Michaela has spent the week learning about mammals at the world famous San Diego Zoo. She can be pretty shy at first, especially in new situations, so I wasn’t sure how she’d like it, but she did great!

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She was very excited and came home telling us all about the characteristics of mammals – they’re warm blooded, they drink milk, they have fur, etc. She has told us about digitigrade, plantigrade, and unguligrade mammals, about animal digestion, and more.

In fact, Mike and I are so happy with the camp, and how excited Michaela’s been about it, that I signed her up for another week-long camp later this summer. Woo hoo!

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!