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Staying Within The Lines

16 Sep

Some people just roll on out of bed with a wish for confrontation.

I’m talking about regular people with blatant disregard for the common decency rules of life. Yeah … they’re out there. And I saw one. I took photographic evidence.

But not so much to report anyone, more so to laugh.

You see, about an hour before I saw this dude, I had pulled into a lot and did my very best to park this loaner I was driving into a spot. Now seeing how I’m not used to parking this bad boy Toyota Sienna, it took me about three attempts to completely stay within those double white lines. Yup.  I was putting it in drive and reverse, drive and reverse, and then drive and reverse again, with all eyes from the AARP Crew looking at me from the diner across the way. Just sipping their coffee and staring at me through their bifocals.

My parking job doesn’t have to be perfect and my tires don’t have to be equidistant from the lines on both sides. I just have to be in the slot, I want to give people enough room to open their doors. I just don’t want to be a jackass. That’s it. So after my multiple failed attempts and a triumph that took 5-10 minutes, I moved on and went to run some more errands and that’s when I saw this dude.

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I mean he wasn’t even close. And you guessed it … it was one of the last spots on the lot.

Now normally things like this really burn me out, but under this new Super-Soul Sunday everyday vibe I’ve been flowing on, I ended up cracking up. This dude did not care. Not one bit.

I mean I’d understand if we were at the ER and it was a life and death situation, but I was at the 99-Cent store, there are plenty of Cup O Noodles.

So when I saw this Volvo, I just paused for a minute and laughed. This dude is living by his own code.

You see out here in the traffic congested city I live in, there are parking rules that people let slide because you know what the drawbacks are, for example an SUV parked in a compact-only spot will probably get his door scratched or dented by the other cars. That’s a given. If you park in someone’s driveway, you might get hit, or towed before you roll out of bed early enough to move your car,  it happens. You take two spots instead of one, you might get a nasty note on your windshield or a confrontation in your future.

People are aware of the consequences. They know. This guy knew, but he didn’t care.

Growing up in this city I take these rules fairly seriously. I don’t want to  be a jackass. So I tend to stay within the lines. The fact that I worked so hard to park my loaner car an hour before and then see this Volvo-driving nut just handle this spot like a dictator cracked me up. I mean who thinks that way. I just had to laugh. I couldn’t react any other way.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

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Writer Wednesdays … Literary High-Five

6 Sep

Sometimes you’re just in a funk, and you can’t find the right words for your characters or feel like that missing piece is never going to fall in place.  You have no idea where the writer inside disappeared to, then all of sudden you write a letter, an email, or do a different type of writing  and you get the groove back.

I’m getting my groove back.

 

Recently, I had a blogging buddy of mine Jacqueline Cangro edit one of my manuscripts and let me tell you, having someone read something like that gave me the butterflies. I mean I know that eventually it’s going to be out there for everyone to see, and some close friends of mine have seen parts, if not all of it. But Jackie was going to edit it … really edit it. So I was nervous. I was like … dude what if she hates it? Will she ever return to my blog? Or how will she let me down easy. I was creating all kinds of scenarios in my head, but none of them panned out.

Jackie was really nice about it and spoke with me about my concerns. Sh did an amazing detailed job with content analysis, story and characterization. I was so glad to have met Jackie. Her advice was on point and I could feel the missing pieces coming together.

But I’ll be honest with you, rewriting and rewriting after edits and edits became a daunting task, even with the awesomeness that is Jackie. I got a little nervous. I didn’t want to veer too far off course, I didn’t want to get lost in all the editing that I couldn’t find my way back. And then the universe sent me a sign.

A friend of mine asked me to write a grant proposal for arts programs at my son’s school. Now normally I don’t get involved with the Mommy Mafia or the PTA clicks, which she is a part of,  but seeing how this was a close buddy and it was for a great cause I thought it would be a great service for the community and a good opportunity for a pause in novel re-writing plan.

So I took a step back from my 100th rewrite and did something good for someone else. During that process I learned that tapping a different avenue of my talents, helped stir up the writing mojo in all areas of my life. Writing about advocacy and arts engagement helped boost my own focus. Being able to write a cohesive statement that had nothing to do with my crazy character and her journey, helped glue ideas together in the recesses of my mind, and make things click. I was making connections and feeling confident about the fine-tuning that was going on.

And this is where I find myself.

I find myself looking back on how I turned the corner and I never would have guessed that grant writing or executive summaries would have the power of a high-five, because that’s what it was … a literary high-five. After I finished writing it … I thought damn! That was me … I put these words together. I conveyed how critical arts were for inventiveness and out-of-the box thinking. I put together a piece that speaks to the heart of this school and the need for arts education despite financial cutbacks. I convinced someone, I persuaded them to give money … and just with words. They hadn’t even met me yet. All they knew were my words.

And that seemed to be pretty powerful stuff. That seemed to be the make-up of a writer. That seemed to put be back on the yellow-brick road pathway.

So while, I’m still working on the grant, which will be due in a couple of days, I feel that time away from my story, spent working on a different discipline, has helped bring the story back full circle. I don’t know if any other writers experienced something like that, because I figured people get inspired or back into the story, by being away from it for a moment, taking a trip somewhere and then coming back from that sabbatical refreshed ans zoned in, but it was my first way down that road. And I’ve got to say, it was interesting.

 

Buen Camino

 

 

Inspired by Hanna-Barbera … Duct Tape Adventures Return

3 Sep

I look forward to this adventure every year, it takes me back to my seven-year old self, the one watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons on Saturday mornings.

I’ve told you about this before, my love for these kinds of races and the origin of it all …

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Cartoons were a big deal to me back then, that’s where I got most of my fantastic ideas. And this one — the Wacky Races —  has always stayed with me. So when I heard about this cardboard boat regatta down by the beach a couple of years ago, I jumped at the chance to participate in the fun. It’s actually turned into a family tradition. Something I hope my kids will look back on fondly.

The entire process jazzes me up. From conception to creation to craftsmanship. The annual cardboard boat regatta challenges the small artist I have in me. I’ve learned to enjoy the process, the trials and errors, the measure twice and cut once philosophy, the entire duct tape process, being present, and enjoying the building part with my kids was one of the many takeaways from this experience. I’ve been grateful enough to remember it every year. The actual race takes about five minutes so enjoying every bit of the process leading up to that helps slow time down and increase the gratitude factor. I’m glad I can remind myself of this, but feel even happier that I’ve introduced my kids to this life lesson. So it’s a win-win.

Creativity happens here and I’ve learned that it involves duct tape. I look forward to the seven rolls of duct tape that make my vessel seaworthy. This year it was five rolls of Gorilla Tape and two of silver duct tape, not that it matters or anything, but thought I’d share the supply list in case you wanted to get creative too.

The multiple trips to the local Do-It-Yourself Hardware Center become a weekly adventure during our creative process. I enjoy seeing whether or not the finished product meets my kid’s expectations. Most of the time it does, last year, it was so amazing that I even patted myself on the back. This year was a little trickier, considering inspiration came from Despicable Me 3, Gru’s car, and his minions of course. But we managed and came up with this …

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Gru’s Car/Speedboat

Cardboard and duct tape. Total Festivus Miracle! And not only was the creative process enjoyable, we also ended up winning our heat. For the second year in a row, after losing the first few years, we paddled our way to the finish line first, without sinking and eventually placed third overall in the parent-child category.

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Making it to the finish line … smiling all the way.

But in addition to paddling our way down the pool, hanging out with and talking to the other boat makers was so much fun. I enjoyed seeing some of the masterpieces and listening to the inspiration behind it all.

 

 

My son really enjoyed the Star Wars vessel and my daughter loved the Moana boat, but I have yet to recover the picture for that one. My favorite was of course this white one.

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AMAZING!

 

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this whole boat made out of cardboard, but it was only for display and not for racing purposes. The creative process on this one must have been great.

 

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🙂

Everyone ended up having a good time. Don’t know if they were inspired by Hanna Barbera, but something inspired them and the inventiveness came through in the form of cardboard and duct tape creations. Remembering that the process and being present were just as important as paddling to the finish brought sunshine to my heart.

Buen Camino my friends!

Sandbox List Adventures: The Sun, The Moon, The Vibe

27 Aug

This was in the hands of the universe …

But before I continue on the wonder of the Cosmos I must apologize … this was supposed to be posted last Wednesday, but for some reason it got locked down in my drafts file. Maybe it was delayed in order to bring something good among all the bad that’s going on in our country. Maybe it was kept there to remind you of the amazing powers of science and how one small cosmic miracle can bring us all together …

I had never seen one, so the fact that  we were in the path of this scientific awesomeness gave me pause. Not everyone around the world got to see it, but we were lucky enough to experience the eclipse and check that off the Sandbox List Adventure.

Now seeing how my kids had school that morning I made an executive decision in the name of science to skip the morning scholastic activities in elementary school and drive down to the university and join grad students, professors, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory  (JPL) scientist for an outdoor learning session. There were solar eclipse sunglasses, telescopes, awesome shadow boxes, and a live stream news feed airing the path of totality in one of the lecture halls. It was an astronomy extravaganza!

I felt since this was a once in a lifetime event for many people, it had to be something our family needed to witness. And the thing is, it would have been fine hanging out in our patio and watching it by ourselves, but being among all those people was an amazing vibe that lasted the entire week. It was so much more being in that environment. It wasn’t something to look at during a commercial break, it ended up being an experience. A Sandbox List Adventure experience. It was excitement! I was excited to be there and when is the last time that you felt excitement over some astronomical event?

I mean if you live in the city a shooting star is awesome, because it’s a rare sight with all the bright lights hampering your star gazing experience. I was happy to be there, and even more so to have my kids see something like this. Us city kids watching a solar eclipse, that called for Pink Floyd music to accompany us on this journey.

All of us outside on the lawn, strangers, just hanging out and experiencing the eclipse brought out the neighborly vibe in everyone.  In the frantic mad dash to get those oh-so-elusive-solar-eclipse glasses, many people weren’t able to get one of the thousand free pairs that JPL handed out. So many people, including ourselves, shared with neighbors so they could get a glimpse.

 

It was a good feeling to be among people and have my kids share the positive energy and camaraderie of spectators coming together to witness something beautiful. And although we didn’t have totality, the 60% that we did experience made for an awesome memory.

The eclipse had the power for just a moment, to remove emotional hangovers, bad conversations, rejection letters, cold symptoms, no parking zones, chaotic mornings, DMV clerks, credit card bills, and empty-gas-tank-lights during congested traffic. It had the power to cause deep breathing and slowing down time. It had the power of gratitude and bringing people together. It had the power of making it on the Sandbox List Adventures.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

Sandbox List Adventure: Feeling The Burn But Enjoying Pockets of Nature

13 Aug

Slowing down the clock. Making the moment last longer. They’re getting better at it.

Wanting adventures to last longer or remembering them with more clarity became a summer goal that’s probably going to last us some years.

They close their eyes, put their hand on their heart and take three deep breaths. Then open their eyes and watch … just watch and take three deep breaths again.

We had an opportunity for that today, We had an opportunity to escape the ugliness of what’s happening in our country. We had an opportunity to find some good, to be present in the moment and have gratitude envelope us. We had an opportunity for one last field trip. One last adventure before school started.

We needed to end our summer on an awesome note, considering the bumpy ride we encountered at registration. So once again we headed to the water.

I thought of the beach, but my kids wanted to change things up a bit.

A Sandbox List Adventure.

Paddle boating.

My son wanted to do this all-summer long, but for one reason or another it didn’t work out. We’d been to the lake a couple of times but it ended up being closed. However the day before school started … Sunny. Open. Clear sailing.

The one thing my son was unaware of was the massive leg workout this would be, but his muscles were pumping and my daughter, as captain of the ship, made sure we kept the boat moving. But if we’re being honest, I was breaking a sweat after the first lap and in desperate need of a water break. I was picking up the slack because I could tell my son was feeling the burn. We did a lot of drifting though, just letting the wind and the ripples guide us through the water.  But I guarantee you,  I’ll still be feeling it tomorrow morning, Word to the wise … sunscreen and stretching are necessary. You’ll feel the burn, but it’s worth it in those quads, but finding pockets of nature in the city is always worth the work.

There were highlights … awesome ones to accompany the quad workout.

Circling the water fountain and feeling the wispy breeze behind hit, made everything all right that day. Forgot about class complications, teacher meetings, principal emails, and class supply lists agony.

We were on the lake and it was Sandbox List Adventure time. The feel-good vibes from today will help fuel the rest of the week.

 

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Checking out the scene and mapping out our course …

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Had our sites on the fountain … a definite highlight of the day.

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Then we headed to the lily pads to get a closer look at nature …

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Duuuuude up close was just as beautiful …

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And so after all that beauty and all those laps, we pedaled our way back.

 

Buen Camino my friends.

You’re Not Alone Out There …

6 Aug

Laundryitis.

I suffer from this.

I never thought I would but I do. So now I’m like an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.

If you’re not familiar with this syndrome, it may happen to tired moms and dads, or college students. It can happen to anyone really, but the judgement seems to be worse when you’re a mom I guess. You’re supposed to have it all together. At least that’s what Facebook people appear to do … have it together.

But I don’t. I’m a mess in progress.

I suffer from Laundryitis … you know, when you wash your clothes and then take them out of the dryer, and put them in a nice pile. Shirts on one side, pants and shorts on the other. And you tell yourself I’m gonna fold those as soon as I get a minute. You know that elusive minute when you’re a parent. You know when you have that oh-so-famous down time, when you unwind in the quiet of the night. I’ll do it when I’m watching Netflix. And then four days later … they’re still there … on your bed. They may even make the start of the next clothes cycle, where you wash another load and you’re just adding to the pile. It’s happened.

The clothes just lay in the corner, not as smooth as before, a couple of lumps and wrinkles, but no longer in two neat piles. Just one lump some of Costco-Fabric softner-smelling clothes. I bring them down with me every night, but for some reason, they don’t end up getting folded. I lay down for a minute to rest, only to wake up at 1 a.m. and drag myself to bed. I write a post, or edit my book, and lose track of time, or I end up getting lost in some Netflix or Amazon Prime episodic binge adventure.

I’m not really proud of this Laundryitis, but just wanted you to know … those of you hiding in secret … not posting your Devil Wears Prada closet on The Facebook Instagram tip that you’re not alone. It happens, it especially happens to tired moms.

So I think I’m more prone to Laundryitis, in fact I think that if you have a cleaning lady or cleaning crew helping you out, you might not suffer from this. You might have your act together because you clean before the cleaning lady gets there, or she may just do it for you. I don’t know.  Maybe you have a Jetsons futuristic setup.

I guess if I shopped at IKEA I would totally be on top of this entire situation, you know with the state-of-the-art awesome drawers of organization with potential Jetson possibilities. But I don’t have the IKEA awesomeness in the bedroom.

I’m not that futuristic though … I don’t even have a dishwasher. And I think a dishwasher is important. I think these technological advances in the home economics sector have a cause and effect correlation with Laundryitis. Maybe I wouldn’t be as tired if I could just load it up and press wash, instead of Palmolive all over my hands for hours. I don’t know, I’m no scientist but I see something.

The more help you get, Kenmore or Maytag technology, or IKEA awesomeness, or just another human being, the less likely you are to suffer from Laundyitis and be caught up in your own episode of Everybody Loves Raymond with an Everybody Loves Raymond kind of mom sending you the guilt stare.

But don’t worry … shed the guilt … you’re not alone.

 

Buen Camino my friends …

 

Dude … The Magic of Garth and Shark Week Living on 42

30 Jul

I felt like I was riding a wave of electricity in a thundolt-filled sky.

The energy brought life into my life, and for the third time in my existence, I crossed off a Bucket List Item in honor of my birthday. I wasn’t sure how I would celebrate the big 42. I wasn’t worried as much as when I turned 40. Not because it wasn’t a big day, it always is, but because both Jackie Robinson and James Worthy wore No. 42 jerseys, so that had to be a sign of awesomeness to come in my year of 42 … At least that’s what I thought.

But it was even better.

The Magic of Garth can overpower any bad spells on any given day, and turn a good day into a great night — the unforgettable ones that belong in The Jar of Awesome.

In spite of a couple of personal snags that evening, which could have sucked the blue out of the sky, I was still … STILL able to enjoy the sparkle and wonder of the Big Magic that is Garth Brooks. I had a little bit of it sprinkled on me as I experienced the musical testimony of of this cowboy dude. He had the power to erase bad conversations, frustrations, anger, and ill thoughts. He had the power of the ocean.

Two Pina Coladas. That Summer. Thunder Rolls. Unanswered Prayers. Shameless. Friends in Low Places. And … And his new song  Ask Me How I Know. Not to mention his duet with Trisha Yearwood and her solo songs that night.

And it was awesome. He left it all out on the stage and it was inspiring, contagious, live-your-life-like-this energy.

Definitely a great way to celebrate a birthday and live in the moment, in that live-your- life-like-Shark-Week moment I was talking about last week. Every single person surrounding me surged with the good vibes of country music’s finest.

 

I had never been to one of his concerts before, and now I know what I’ve been missing out on. It was a never-disappointed nighttime adventure.

The birthday celebration began with the greatness of the sandy beaches on a California coast with my kids, coupled with good food. Then the night …the night was filled with The Magic of Garth.

It was the kind of birthday weekend I like to imagine. It gave me a day to spend with my family and live the best mom life on the beach, riding waves and building sand castles under the Californian sun, and then The Night with Garth which fed my feel-good feelings soul of the regular Chapsiptick girl in me.

Blowing out birthday candles, wishing for big dreams, and Bucket List Adventures involving The Magic of Garth Brooks was a good way to ring in the Year of 42. Shark Week Living and Garth Brooks … Definitely a great combination.

 

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

It’s That Time Again …

25 Jul

I look forward to this every year. Not just for the excitement and stories but because it reminds me of promises I made to myself in January …

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SHARK WEEK!

I love it. I totally geek out about the Hammerheads, Makos, and Great Whites. I honestly start contemplating life as a marine biologist and imagining the safest way to swim with sharks, you know the small ones.

We get jazzed up the entire week, mark it on the calendar and anticipate the close calls in tagging and tracking the sharks in order to collect data. We find out about their hunting patterns, migrating patterns, eating patterns, any and all kinds of patterns we search for them, just like the rest of America. We love to revisit stories from last year and can’t wait to compare them to this year. Megaladon was one of my favorites. This year they had Michael Phelps racing a shark! Sort of …

Discovery Channel had their X-Factor this week. There’s no other week like it for them. They go all out with the programming and I am one of the many, glued to her television set waiting to see what will happen next. We make shark pancakes, shark tostadas and shark cake.

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We do it all in order to celebrate SHARK WEEK!

You see because that’s where they get me … the dangers of the shark. I’m waiting to see what will happen next, the excitement of the stories and the enthusiasm of these researchers is contagious. I want to know what’s next because nothing says living on the edge more than sharks.

So here I am mid-July, during one of the best weeks of television and I’m reminded that I should be living my best week regardless of the month. I should be emptying out the tank, remembering the Bucket List additions I wrote down at the beginning of the year and doing a self-check on the New Year’s Eve promises. I should be living every week like it’s Shark Week.

I like to make a big deal of the whole thing. I like to build up momentum and spread it out to my son and daughter. If there’s no build up, or excitement leading up to this week what’s the point? Shark Week is the week for all of that. My kids, they love the series of adventures and imagine themselves on excursions just like these, on being adventurous, on following your passions, and on celebrating the little victories, just the way researchers do when they tag a shark.

Shark Week brings it all.

So with all these positive energy, I remembered the good vibes from January 1st. I remember the everyday balloons scenario that allows for appreciating the little things. I remembered the promises I made to myself and so I checked, have I been on track?

For the most part … yes … yes I have, although there have been some serious wipe-outs. But I still persist. I wake up with purpose, tired, but with purpose. I wake up and think it’s Shark Week! Go all out. No excuses … and so I try.

Happy SHARK WEEK!

Buen Camino my friends!

 

The Year of Eight … A Year of Firsts And Freeze Frames

19 Jul

Cupcakes after midnight …

A buddy of mine left this awesome flair for words for me last week. Sounds accurate … on so many levels.

I find myself again … baking after midnight and preparing for the first day of being nine and reminiscing on the last days of being eight. I think about him knowing my Dad the first two years of his life only, but having good thoughts about the time spent together.

Eight was a good year, some ups and downs, but overall a good year. A year of firsts.

 

The Year of Eight we took to the ice. First time playing hockey, first time scoring goals, first time for a hat trick, first time a sport gets his complete undivided attention. First time we have to wake up at 5 a.m. to be at a sporting event at 6 a.m.

First time for Boy Scout Adventures in the Great Outdoors and earning badges. First time for Pinewood Derbies and being proud of the green roadster we constructed. First time for Rocket Academies, archery and BB guns. Rockets being the favorite as we successfully launched them into the sky.

First time for reading Roald Dahl and loving Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, first time for reading all his books. First time for exploring so many books that I lost count but he continued with science adventure books about kids being his favorites.

First time for learning tough lessons about friends in third grade, and how sometimes they’re not so friendly. First time for brushing off the disappointment and then learning to chug along.

First time I hear that he wants to slow time down because things are going too fast, so I teach him about daily gratitude and being present in the moment. First time he tries it and it works. The sweet spot of Jar of Awesome moments last longer and time slows for a moment.

First time for jumping off the diving board at the swimming pool, took the swim test and passed the first time. Best cannonball ever. First time we won our cardboard boat race, it was the Dalmatian Monster Mutt that took us to victory. First time for Sandbox List Adventures to be crossed off, like being an America Ninja Warrior for the day, trying to climb that warped wall and tackle the obstacles. The first year for The Jar of Awesome …

The Year of Eight was a great year of firsts for my kid. I’m grateful I get the chance to write that letter for him and remember these things. I try to catch them in this time capsule because even though I slow things down, slow is too fast for these moments. Freeze frame seems more appropriate.

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But it just wasn’t a year of firsts there were many seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths … I remember all the times he got lost in the world of Legos, creating cities, battles, movies, and Star Wars scenes. I remember all the mini-figures he mixed and matched to create new characters in stories. I remember him wanting to play chess and always ready to setup the Star Wars chess set. He always wanted to be the good guys. I remember his love of chocolate, all kinds of chocolate, Kit Kats, Snickers and M&Ms being some of his favorites, although he also likes Doritos and discovered the wonders of Extra Spearmint Gum. I remember him discovering Minecraft, Minion Rush, Star Wars Commnader and Fruit Ninja on the iPad. I remember him waking up before 7 a.m. on Saturday mornings just to watch cartoons, The Jungle Bunch, Lego Star Wars Freemaker Adventures, Pokemon, Wild Kratts, Star War Rebels, SpongeBob, and The Lion Guard just to name a few. I remember how he always looked forward to Shark Week every year, marking the calendar and having a countdown of his own. Great White Shark is his favorite. I remember how he still wants to be a firefighter when he grows up.

I remember dancing to his feel-good songs and him cutting loose, every time. He feeeeeeels the music and he is the best Solid-Gold-Soul-Train-dancer in the house. Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal and Bruno Mars are some of his favorites. Although 80s always rule in the house. 80s and The Beatles. He smiles as I watch him dance and it’s priceless. I loved the Year of Eight dance moves.

I remembered all that tonight and more …

So tonight I hugged my eight-year old one last time before going to bed, one last time before he turned nine tomorrow morning. I hugged him extra tight, and took an extra breath as he was squished between my arms. He smelled like Dove soap. I held him tighter. I was trying to freeze-frame it. I asked him how his last day as an eight-year old turned out to be and he said it was awesome …

 

I rode my bike in the morning. Played some Legos. And then went to the Ninja Gym and did some America Ninja Warrior stuff, I got to the fourth wobbly cube, the green one. And then we had ice cream for dinner. It was awesome. Tomorrow I’ll be nine. I think it’s gonna be great …

 

The Year of Eight was good and now The Year of Nine begins. It begins with me baking, not cupcakes this time, but cake … cake after midnight. Chocolate, of course.

 

 

 

 

The Night Before Six …

13 Jul

It didn’t occur to me that the Birthday Eves were important to kids too. I just thought only adults took stock and thought about the night before turning 40. I realized it’s a moment to pause for kids too. I wished I would have thought about it sooner, so I could have done this earlier for my kids and for my son, so that I could look back and remember all the times that slip into forgotten memories unless you have a picture of it. But I was grateful to have remembered and started today.

So I wrote her a letter …

 

You didn’t even need me to catch you this time.

You found the courage to jump off the edge and perform your best cannonball yet. And it was only your second attempt. You smiled. You finally went on the blue slide … six times you raced me. Six times I won but you didn’t care, because that wasn’t the point of the blue slide.

We were there three-and-a-half hours.

You ate a strawberry-orange-fruity Popsicle and it claimed your front tooth, the one that wiggled all morning long, the one you wouldn’t let me touch. The pool-side Popsicle made the arrival of the tooth fairy possible.

You won a book, a dinosaur book, on the last day of the summer reading book club over at the library, and you high-fived me.

The hotel that lost your soft, plush brown stuffed-dog that you’ve had since you were one-year-old, the hotel that claimed it had no idea how it disappeared from your bed, sent a FedEx package to our door. Brownie appeared and was back in bed with you tonight.

But before you went to sleep we talked about it being your last day as a five-year old and how that felt, what you expected six would be like, what your best memories of being five were … you were grateful for that day. You cried a little, though, you were worried about being six. Your brother told you that being six was gonna be great and that you’d probably be tall enough to ride some roller-coasters now, play on the big playground at school, and read some good books.

Being six would be easy for you.

We had a family hug for a couple of minutes and that seemed to do the trick. You were still worried but you found your courage.

As you lay in my arms I remembered this was the year you tried out for softball and you liked playing first and third base the most. Your favorite part was batting. It was your first year of kindergarten and you met your buddy Emma. Your favorite shows were PAW Patrol, PJ Masks, Doc McStuffins, Sesame Street, and America Ninja Warrior. Your favorite animals were elephants, hippos and dinosaurs. You really liked reading Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems, The Fred and Ted Series by P.D. Eastman, The Skippyjon Jones Series … all of them, Dr. Seuss, The Hungry Caterpillar, and Good Night, Goodnight Construction Site. Your favorite movies were The Ice Age Series, Despicable Me and Moana. You didn’t like getting out of bed, you were the give-me-five-more-minutes-mom kind of morning person, but you did enjoy you feel-good songs to wake you up. You enjoyed Footloose, Our House In The Middle of the Street, Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Starting Something, and U2’s Songs of Innocence — the entire CD.

You liked art and drawing, you liked playing Legos and America Ninja Warrior with your brother, you like me chasing you, giving you piggy back rides, splashing in the kiddie pool, watching you ride your bike, and you really like doing The Wave at baseball games.

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It was a great day to be five-years old. The last day you would be five and it had many Jar of Awesome Moments. You have a Pippi-Longstocking-Amelia-Bedelia-Goonies-Moana adventurous spirit. I’m hoping to remember it all.

I’ll especially remember me making your birthday cupcakes. You requested chocolate cupcakes instead of a cake this year, chocolate with chocolate with chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles.

I tried a new recipe and it was an epic fail. Disaster all over the kitchen and cupcakes tasted and looked nothing like cupcakes at 11:23 p.m. They were just gross. I have no idea what happened, but I imagine it had something to do with my math and my ounces/grams to cups/tablespoon conversion.

So, what could I do but laugh and start again. Finished the cupcakes after midnight and then started on the frosting … Birthday cupcakes will be great tomorrow.

Last day of being five definitely rocked it.