We are back from our West Coast vacation. We survived our one-day Disneyland whirlwind. It was a good age to take them.
I did my best to try to take it all in. That isn’t always easy for me. I like a to-do list. I like having a plan. I like feeling productive. Sometimes that drive comes at the cost of actually experiencing the thing I am so eager to check off my list. So I tried to say yes more this vacation and I tried not to get too tied up in the planning.
It wasn’t always easy. That water can be cold. Or the beach sand too… sandy. Or the thought of paying for another bowl of mac ‘n cheese too much. But I tried because (as just about everyone who hasn’t seen Cece in awhile comments on) they are growing older. Really fast.
So I tried to say yes while they are still asking and while I still can because one day soon they won’t ask Dad to jump in the hotel pool or body surf that wave with them.
They will probably still ask me for mac ‘n cheese however.
We are on vacation, visiting family in San Diego, and celebrating Michelle’s parent’s 50th anniversary. That’s an increasingly rare and wonderful milestone showcasing a long and successful partnership.
Michelle likes to tell the story of how my grandmother pulled her aside a few weeks before our wedding and told her in no uncertain terms that there were no divorces in her family and she didn’t intend to start now so Michelle better be sure. Either my tiny, little grandmother had a terrifying side that I never saw or she was working some powerful voodoo because 17 years after that chat, and many weddings later, there are still no divorces in my large, sprawling, extended family.
Or maybe we just all had good role models. I’m a big believer in modeling how and what you want your kids to learn. Fifty years of marriage is a heck of a strong example.
Halfway through the year and a good time to take stock of goals for the year. I’m more than halfway through the next book. It’s a bit of a mess but that’s normal. The pie baking goal went out the window with the fitness challenge but that’s okay. Goals can be flexible. I’ll conquer that dough fear eventually. Work is still taking place in the living room with the occasional trombone lesson getting airtime on conference calls.
But what about parenting? How do we measure that?
Parenting often feels like saving for retirement. It’s so big and the timeframe so long that you’re not really going to know how you’re doing until its over. The best you can do is contribute steadily and not panic. Through that lens, I think we’re doing okay. We’re showing up, we’re dealing with the eye rolls, they seem mildly embarrassed by us most times, but still return at the end of the day and ask what’s for dinner. I’m giving myself a check.
Camp Dad has finished its first week. There were some ups and downs. The biggest question was why do we have to do this? Camp Dad includes a work release program where the inmates do 30 minutes of chores each day. In keeping with my Dad philosophy, I’m willing to set an example. I don’t ask them to do anything I won’t do. We all were out weeding the front walk on Thursday.
But why, they ask? They are old enough that bluffing my way through an answer doesn’t really work. So we talked about it while complaining about dandelion’s deep roots.
Two main reasons. First, just like exercise, building up a work ethic takes time and practice. I think simple, achievable chores are the five pound dumbbells of life skills.
Second, it helps them learn responsibility and time management. I don’t tell them when they have to do the chores, just that they need to be done by the end of the day.
I’d say it might also help with team work but seeing how quickly Cecilia persuaded and recruited the neighbors to her cause, I’d say she has that one down.
I’m ten years late, but I have a new favorite obsession: the Yonanna soft serve dessert maker and creamy banana ice cream.
It’s a toss up between a warm chocolate chip cookie and a bowl of ice cream as my favorite dessert. But if our current fitness challenge provides any evidence, I might be leaning toward ice cream. But maybe that’s just because it’s the summer. But I wouldn’t be alone in loving ice cream. The average American eats almost five gallons a year! That’s…a lot of heavy cream.
Enter the Yonanna soft serve dessert maker to save me from myself.
I made good on a four year promise this week when I took Cecilia to Six Flags as part of her twelfth birthday. Be very careful what you casually say when they are eight. Kids remember everything.
We planned, we plotted, we watched the weather, we figured out the best routes and the best deals. And things mostly worked out. We had a great day. I hope we had a memorable day but I don’t really get to choose.
Despite all the planning and stress, what I’ve heard her mention most to others afterward wasn’t the coasters or wild rides but the M&M design on the park’s entrance steps, the various tattoos on the people in line, the frappuccino she got at Starbucks on the way, and the Nutella pizza the restaurant had on the menu.
We can stress about perfect summer vacations or special birthdays but mostly its the little ordinary moments that stick. Big or little, I’m happy she will at least remember who else was there with her.
If you’ve participated in a spring or early summer CSA recently, you’ve likely gotten some early season (or late season) greens that look vaguely like bok choy. Welcome to the world of tatsoi. What is tatsoi? It’s a hearty Asian green that is quick and easy to use in a variety of dishes.