Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Days

May is a roller coaster month, a month filled with anticipation of birthdays and the end of school mingled with the sense of feeling out of control, as strict daytime routines give way to lazier, less structured days of summer.  We bid farewell to teachers; we learn to savor, all over again, the heady days of sunshine and blue skies.  It's a month that makes us feel like we're on top of the world one minute... only to discover ourselves scrambling to make it to the top of the next hurdle, the next jam-packed day, the next.  I hate the word "busy," and it's one I'm trying to eliminate - both using and feeling.  And so, on this last day of a roller coaster month, I'm looking forward to more time and more space.  More time with my kids... more time in this space, re-prioritizing, letting go, honing in on what really matters here.  I slogged through much of April and early May, feeling too busy and forgetting to get lost in the clouds. But I was delighted to discover, in retrospect, some really beautiful moments I managed to capture in a photo.  Like I always think about the photos I take, some are actually pretty decent pics.  But most of them are simply the visual reminder of a beautiful memory that may otherwise be forgotten, the feeling that motivated me to snap the shot more than the end result, capturing the process, not worrying about the product....


Aidan turned TEN this month.  One decade old.  I find this to be simply amazing, in and of itself.

Tiny and grand moments of this month include...

These awesome ewoks Aidan constructed all on his own after reading an origami Star Wars book.  I love his creative streak.
 Aidan's piano lessons drew to a close this month as we enjoyed his second piano recital.  In the fall, he'll be in the 5th grade band as a .... TRUMPET player!
 Pax and Aidan have a relationship that may best be described as hot and cold.  In this lovely Tuesday afternoon while Leo was at gymnastics, Aidan and Pax had a wonderful time in the company of each other.
 Continuing as Master Chef, Aidan planned the meal himself, then made dijon chicken, roasted broccoli, corn on the cob, and buttered noodles.  My contribution?  I cut the watermelon.
 Last weekend, my dad and I formally and officially introduced Aidan to the Indianapolis 500.  My father and I have watched this race together for 25ish years.  It was an incredibly exciting race with the second closest finish in history, and I was delighted to welcome Aidan as the newest true race fan.
 TEN years old hanging on the limbs of his TEN year old Crepe Myrtle:
 Cheers!  11 more years until Aidan's is a Malbec instead of sparkling grape juice.
 With a new decade comes the start of new freedom:  his own kayak.  This is the face of a boy destined to do great things... all aboard this fine sea vessel.


As Leo's school year drew to a close, we began to see the "true" Leo re-emerge, his even temper, easy manner, and charm lighting up his wiggly-toothed grin.  Leo spent a lot of time in the kitchen with me this month, mastering meatballs, sweet bolognese sauce, and individual pizzas.  He invented a new use for old things when he donned his swim goggles to avoid the tear-inducing oils emitted while cutting onions.  And he has become an absolutely prolific writer.  I was stunned - and thrilled - by both the quality and the quantity of his writing....

Custom-made for his brothers
 Spaghetti bolognese with sweet Italian (turkey) sausage
 Great Grandma Turano's Meatballs (best ever.)

(All works of writing were auto-corrected by Mom for ease of reading.  These are just a small sampling of the many works by LGC, taken from the beginning, middle, and end of the year.)

This weekend I went to church.  I play with blocks.  I made a card.  I went to the store.

I get mad when Aidan says the same thing over and over.  Because it is annoying.

Fall is wonderful.  I like seeing leaves change colors.  In fall there is Thanksgiving.  Fall is a exciting season.  I like fall.
Clouds come in many shapes and sizes.  Some are like silk.  Some are gray.  Some are pictures.  I like the pictures because they are cool.

My little brother loves me so much!  He thinks I'm the coolest thing in the world.  I know he loves me becasue every day I get off the bus, he says "EEEOOOO!!!" 
One day we had a sub and she was an alien.  She tried to use superpowers on us but I pulled out my lightsaber and blocked it.  It was too hard for me.  I couldn't do it alone.  I used the force on her.  Then I called Gabe.  He distracted her and I destroyed her.  Then we told [our teacher].  The End.

What I want to do this summer.  I want to go to California.  I want to go to Myrtle Beach.   I want to go skate boarding.  I want to go bogeyboarding.  I want to do street olympics.  I want to run one mile.  I want to play lacrosse.  I want to play tag.  I want to go fishing.  


I continue to savor, savor, savor the moments I have with Pax.  It is the easiest to do this, sometimes, because I am so painfully aware of how little time I have left with him under my wing in our nest at home.  I remember so well the preschool trips I took with Aidan and with Leo, how there was always a tag-along brother.   I remember looking forward to the day when all of my focus and attention could be on the one.  And now... that day is here.

Pax makes me laugh, every day.  He is passionate.  He is passionate in how he demonstrates his love and affection for me; he is passionate in how he demonstrates his anger and frustration. I'm learning to sit with him through his fits of rage so that I might guide him back into his squeezy hugs.  Occasionally, he calls me "Mumsy," which I absolutely love.  When I told him how much I liked it, he said, "Just like you sometimes call us Boysies."

Pax's favorite game is to run and hide somewhere in the house, then jump out and yell "Boo!" to whomever is nearby.  His giggles give him away, so there is a lot of feigned surprise in order to make him feel like he's truly scared us.  I like to say to him, "You scared the daylights out of me!"  but one time, I didn't say anything.  He asked, "Did I scare the lightbulbs out of you?"

Recently, Jeff found himself in a conversation with Pax on the topic of boobs(yes, boobs). Jeff asked Pax if he knew what boobs were for.  "Yes," Pax replied.  "It's so mommies won't hurt themselves if they run into something."
Snapshots of the moments I savor:

...the way he sticks out his tongue a little bit, in concentration and determination.  He is *very* good at throwing a frisbee.
 How much he adores his grandparents.  How Grandpa stopped by one morning and served as the Celebrity Chef, whipping up a plate of scrambled eggs, just the way Pax likes them. lucky Pax is to get to color at Grandma's house, like it's their job.
Field trips: feeding the sweet lamb
 After carefully and painstakingly making his bed, Pax lined up all of his loveys on his bed, and gave each one a toy.
 This boy loves to color.  (the new hardwood floors are a perfect platform).
 P in a Tree - can you spot me?

 Riding on Star, the pony that looks *just* like the pony, Limerick, I used to ride.... even though he was very, very fearful.
 Full of awesome.
 Working so hard on painting a masterpiece for his preschool teacher.
 Cooking up lasagne dinner for the birthday brother... like a boss.  This kid can cook!!

"The ship of my life may or may not sail on calm and amiable seas.  The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising.  Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude.  If I insist on being pessimistic, there is always tomorrow.  Today, I am blessed."  -Maya Angelou, April 4, 1928 - May 28, 2014.

Monday, May 26, 2014

closing in

Stay tuned for a roundup in the next day or two... in the meantime, here's what everyone's talking about this week:

It's a packed and exciting week, and even includes some extras for me- book club on Tuesday; an Indian curry cooking class (with my mom) on Thursday; and mimosas on the beach on Friday.  Woot!

More soon -
xoxoxo to all my readers.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Church Camping Trip & Hot Stuff

Our 4th annual camping trip (2013) (2012) (2011)was a weekend of gorgeous - simply, positively, radiantly gorgeous weather, not too cold and not a single drop of rain.  This, in and of itself, was a near-miracle (see archives, above).  We shared laughter, a few tears, and created some really beautiful memories....

The coolest thing we did on this trip, though, was the craft I stumbled upon one day and thought, huh. That would be kinda cool to do at a campsite using the campfire.....

And oh, was it cool.  Er... hot.  Really hot.  Smokin' hot.

The original idea for these wax crayon rocks was easily adapted into a camping craft by washing the rocks we gathered, letting them dry, then wrapping them (in several batches) in aluminium foil and putting them directly in the smoldering fire (think hobo dinner fires here) for a minimum of 20 minutes. Then, being careful to avoid touching the rocks, simply use the crayons to create waxed stone masterpieces.  The possibilities for this are endless; I can't wait to get my crayons on my own set of hot rocks.

My loves:
Almost ten years old and suddenly so big...
Working so hard to *be* a big kid
Leo is in his element whenever he is left alone to create something out of rocks, sand, or dirt.  
Beginning to master the slack line...!