Thursday, October 27, 2011

Valley Girls and Giants

Last night I went to visit a good friend of mine(Vanessa). We had some great discussions about how to stimulate certain parts of your brain... Like this for instance:

I am definitely going to do this one day. Vanessa found one in our area and had her first "floating"experience recently.

Then we discussed this restaurant Seriously, who wouldn't want to try this place out? Well I am sure many people wouldn't find this great but as for gives me chills to think about how amazing this experience would be. Mental note for a possible birthday gift next year!!

So our senses were a bit heightened and then this happened

I have never in my life experienced an earthquake and had this one been any longer or stronger it would not have been so effin' cool!! Thankfully no one was hurt even where the epicenter was. It scaled at a 4.7, so we most likely felt it around a 2.something.

Vanessa lives in an old victorian so her house was definitely rumbling and creaking. It lasted at least 5 minutes a few seconds. Once it was over we looked at each other and I whispered "Was that an earthquake?" She, who is the calmest person ever said (again in a whisper,because apparently earthquakes have ears) "I think it was, and it's going to be OK" because I am sure I had a look of terror on my face.

The hilarious part was that during the few seconds of the quake both of us came up with our own interpretation of what was going on and they were both very similar stories. My interpretation was that there was a very large man who had been hiding in her bedroom with plans to attack us and at that very moment he was running through her house coming after us. Her interpretation was that there was again a very large man who was running up her back porch (she has a basement, one of my biggest phobias by the way) into the house. She even went as far to wonder IF this GIANT man can fit through her house windows.

Once I got home I woke my husband up and couldn't quit talking about it. He then empathized with me by sharing his experience here:

YES! I completely forgot he was at the 1989 World Series Baseball game. He was only 10. He shared of his fear in the anticipation of the many aftershocks (he grew up in San Jose). He also told me about how his house was completely ransacked. Then he asked "You've never experienced an earthquake before?"
"I said "no". He then replied teasingly "Oh, that's right...your a valley girl!" my response "Oh...whatever! I'm gonna go watch T.V.... you show off!" Jokingly of course.

While this doesn't compare to the massive quakes it was still quite the experience. One I definitely do NOT want to experience again and my heart and prayers goes out to those families that have been affected by natural disasters. I used this as a learning experience and had a great conversation with my daughter and I am now thinking that I really should be more prepared in case The Big One were to hit our area.

Have you ever experienced an earthquake? Did you know what it was while it was happening? Any stories you'd like to share? I'm all ears :))

XO Your Valley Girl,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Meet the "6 Chicks"

Our girls: 

From top to bottom: 

D.Victoria (Buff Orpington) named by my mom, because it's blonde like her BFF whom I am sure would be  thrilled to know this!

Rintoo (Barred Rock) named and claimed by Dominic.

Rosie (Americauna or Easter Egger) named and claimed by Desiree. 

Roxy (Leghorn) She is mine by default.

Cozy (Buff Orpington) named and claimed by Alexander.

Tilly (Silver Laced Wyandotte) named and claimed by Richard

Chickens were a no-no here in our city up until recently where a new ordinance has been passed and will be in effect on Nov 1st. I attended the meeting along with Desiree.

Us, along with our babies and "CLUCK" stickers after the successful meeting. Where one council member specifically directed her attention to Desiree and said "She was passing this ordinance for the little girl in the 2nd row...for her generation".  

 My daughter is a farm girl living in the city. Her first beloved animal was a 2 she adored horses. She loves country music. She comes alive where there's room to run and be free. So she pushed for these chickens, and Richard and I finally bit the bullet.  Richard was on board as long as he wasn't left to all the hard work. ex: cleaning up the poop!

The first time my daughter had to refill the food and water, it was morning and she was outside in her slippers and nightgown and she said "Mommy, this feels like a real farm." I asked her if she was happy and she said "Yes, I love my chickens."

So it's been a little over two months and they are currently in a brooder that he built and we are in the process of designing our coop which will be a variation of this in the end.

We will most likely never have a farm, but the fact that we can provide a bit of the simple life and self sufficiency here feels right to me. Dominic has learned what "Gentle" means, because chicks "scream" when bueno! This has also helped Alexander search for his inner kid and he loves his "chick" :) he said he will take her to college with him and he will be the only kid who has a hen as a pet.

I enjoy doing the dishes and/or cooking and seeing the hens run back and forth. We all spend much more time outside and they've inspired a new "Native California" backyard theme for us. I am so thankful that my husband and I listened and chose to try something new for our kids.Yes, I had a few weeks of  worrying about the "what if's"  but it's completely worth it.

I know this is a growing trend and I'd love to read about your chickens if you have them.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Here's to the Freakin' Weekend!

This week has been great. My little guy started preschool, I have a blessed 2 hours and 45 minutes EVERYDAY! to create brain space. I love it. It's amazing! He loves school, too. I also love his reaction when I pick him up. "MOMMY!!!!!" huge smiles and hug so powerful I have to brace myself. Completely priceless :)

We got our CSA box - Always a highlight. Nothing like a giant box of gorgeous organic veggies delivered right to your doorstep. May as well say "Happy Birthday!!!" or whatever... Yeah, I am bit of a foodie. Will travel miles up and down Cali (literally) for food. 

Tonight I dropped my little people off with my mother-in-law for the weekend. My husband is sailing/fishing with his friend in San Francisco for the weekend. (on this boat, I'm trying real hard not to be jelly ) 

So it's just me and my man-boy for the next two days. So he's currently taking up the whole couch playing Gears of War 3 (why is it, teens make relaxing look like defacement? Seriously...why can't there be cushions on the couch WHILE you sit on it?)

and I'm blogging all the while thinking that I should be mopping. 

My to do list this weekend consists of things to do solo (because he needs time to play Gears) and things with him, because he's cool like that.

Tentative to do list: 
Have lunch with a friend while my boy attends his club car wash fundraiser
Go hang out downtown tomorrow night with my boy
Go to the Cemetery - Solo
Listen to a sermon by my favorite bay area pastor - Solo
Bake cookies for our neighbors  - hmmm....he may join in just for the dough
Go to my favorite nursery and purchase a California Native plant AND actually get it in the ground before it dies  - this one's iffy...
Watch this documentary with my boy
and we may just scratch all these plans and go wherever the winds blows. Any big plans for ya'll this weekend? It's kinda the first real Fall weekend here, seems to be lots of stuff going on! May it be blessed and carefree. 

Peace Out! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's all in the training.

I've been crazy busy for the past two months. Things like, teenage training, potty training and chicken training! Neither of those three include my daughter, except that she's the one whose doing the chicken training. 7 years old, it's magical! 

My son, Alexander is home  YAY! His dad and I split custody %50. It's hard to have him out of the house that much but it's working. He's happy and I believe his dad is happy (not really, but more on that later) we are happy though. My little ones have missed him a lot and he's such a big part of our family it certainly does feel complete now that he's back home. 

My little guy....well I've pretty much slacked on the potty training. I just couldn't keep up the fight all the time. I also was a going crazy after two accidents in a day. So I chalked it up to he's (I'm) not ready and left it alone. Then last Friday I simply asked " Do you want to sit on the toilet?" He said yep! and while we happened!! OMG!!! I wanted to scream, I was SOOOO freakin' excited!! but I knew I would scare the crap out of him (pun intended) so I just remained calm and we finished up and then we celebrated with a mini candy bar and a call to his dad. more pull ups aside from one at night. He's done a great job and he's so proud of himself. A new found freedom for him and for me, both of which weigh pretty heavily. 

BAWK! BAWK! Yes, we've got chickens! Sometimes even I can't believe it! But after being around a few different families with chickens our family decided to go for it. They are so fun and adding so much life to our home. All of us take a great interest in them, including my man boy. They are about a month old and I am looking forward to blogging about them from time to time. 

I had a great summer and I am looking forward to the Fall. More on all the above topics, plus...babysitting, medals and a new job, oh and the real shocker, CAC meetings otherwise known as "The PTA". (insert stabbing motion in addition to horror music here).

Much love until then...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Good progress...

As you know we've gone to counseling with my son on a few occasions. I have been talking to him a bit more lately. He sounds as if he misses us. His tone is different, he's not so distant. In the last session Cathy (our counselor) explained to him that there is a law in the bible about honoring and respecting your mother and father. If you do so, you will have a good life. If you don't, you will have a challenged life. She explained to him that she see's evidence of it all the time through the ones that go to her for help. She asked him if he felt as if he's dishonored or disrespected us and he said "yes". She asked if he's able to take responsibility for his part in this situation. He asked how, and she said by apologizing. He said he wasn't ready to apologize and that he wanted to do it in private.

She explained to him that no matter what type of relationship we are in whether it be a co-worker, a boss, a friend or a spouse it is a very important ability to be able to acknowledge and take responsibility for his part of the situations in his life. She told him that that it would be wise of him to learn how to do this at a young age. She said he will have to do this many times in his adult life.

I think it's great that she focused on this subject. Apologizing with real acceptance of how you have hurt someone...not sugar coating or being fake or sarcastic or doing it to placate someone. How many times can you count where someone hasn't really apologized. I am at fault for it too. Trust me it came back at me. I have learned throughout my life how important it is to sincerely apologize, to dig deep and find what you've done wrong and validate someone's hurt heart. It's invaluable. To me, that is real love to be able to say I know I've done wrong...and I'm sorry for XYZ....your important to me and so are your feelings.

We have also told Alexander if he feels dishonored or disrespected to tell us. So we can talk about it and get through it together. He is a person just as we are and just because he is a still a child it does not mean that his feelings matter less. In fact they matter more, much more than ours.

We are getting together next week so we can have that private heart to heart. I have faith that it will go well and we can begin our new chapter with him again.

Much Love,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

5 Months...

Dear Ashley,

It was 5 months ago today that you were taken from us. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about you.

The way you use to imitate Giada DeLaurentiis, or Anjelah Johnson. Your love for food, good food. Your love for Audrey Hepburn.Your individual style.You worked hard.

You were a proud young lady. You were proud because you chose to be proud. You chose to be comfortable in your own skin. From day one, you didn't compromise yourself for anyone. You said what's on your mind, you did what you felt was right. Even though you didn't always choose the right path, you always made it learned and that's living.

You lived, Ash. I am proud of you.

I see parts of you in my daughter and I can only pray that she continues to have the courage that you had. It's so cute when they have role call at school, her reply back is "Peace Out". I know you would think that is so funny, you were a "Peace" girl, too.

I know you have peace in your heart. I know you are with God.

Because of you I have more peace in my heart than I have ever had. Because of you, I understand that everyday is truly a gift and at anytime it could change. Well, it does change.

Today, I heard this song by "The Band Perry" over and over again. It's beautiful. It gives me a real good cry. We need those once in a while, right?

Here's to you Ashley. Auntie loves you.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Many, more "Todays" please...

Today, while sitting at a stop sign in my neighborhood, there was a boy on his bike. He was probably 8 or 9. He reminded me of my son at that age.

Today, I took my kids to Dairy Queen. We came home and sat out back and played in our new fountain. Watered our garden and took care of our animals and I thought about my son. When we would go to D.Q. we would bring a treat back for our neighbors kids. They would play out front in their pajamas and eat treats and run around until dusk. They are older now,too,  their daughter just graduated H.S.

Tonight, my daughter read me "The Giving Tree" while I braided her hair, that falls clear beyond her waist. She's already sunburned from her first swim party. I kissed her red shoulders and listened to her read about a boy who  was growing up. I bought that book for him. Nearly ten years ago.

He left again last weekend. I found myself driving around looking for him and then I realized there is no reason I should be doing that. There is nothing I can do as long as he has a place to run to. I have to enforce boundaries, because no one else will in his life. So I came home. Packed up his room and put it in the garage. I haven't cried about it. I've certainly prayed about it, about what to do. I know he needs to grow up. Break away from his mother. He's becoming a man. Maybe not the man that I planned but a man nonetheless.

It hurts. He came by last night to pick up some books he needed to turn in to school. I would have dropped them off but they happened to be the books he threw at my feet just last weekend. So I had a little problem with that. He came and I remained on the couch, while he waited on the doorstep for my husband to get the books. My son came in and gave me a hug. It was nice. I was surprised he did that. I reciprocated, but didn't have anything to say.

I don't know where this road will lead. but I do know that I am so thankful I have the memories I have.I do know that he will be back. I know he loves me, I know a part of him feels regretful, too. Today,  I am so thankful that I was able to read to him, to care for him, to play with him, to talk to him, to hold him close. Those memories are not to be taken for granted. I can only wish and pray for more, much more with my other little ones. One day I will be letting them go too. But today, we will read, and play and love and talk and answer a million and one questions. I am thankful today.