Sunday, May 25, 2014

Crazy Super Awesome Fun Day!!!!!

Well, not sure there could have been a more perfect event for our family to attend than the one we completely lucked into today!! We not only got to see an amazing performance at the Boetcher Concert Hall with the Colorado Symphony, but it was a Jack Hanna show - with wild animals!!! Oh! But it gets better! Like a trillion zillion times better!!

Let me start at the beginning... One day I got a thing in the mail for the CO Symphony and it said there was this Jack Hanna show coming up. Well, seeing as my P Bear is a mini Jack Hanna in the making, I jumped on the computer and started looking into tickets. It was practically sold out! The only seats were scattered and in neck craning zones. I could't find three together anywhere decent.

Robert Frost once said, "Freedom lies in being bold". So I took a bold step and put it out to the interwebs that I was looking for tickets. I posted on FaceBook and my wonderful Highland Mommies site. Before you know it, I got an email from the most delightful gal saying she might have a connection for me and would look into it. Boy did she have a connection! Boy did she look into it! Her husband grew up two houses down from the Hannas! Serendipity gone wild! This angel of a human not only scored us VIP tickets, but also a meet and greet with Jungle Jack himself. Needless to say, I was so excited I pooped several litters of kittens. For P, of course... Ok... maybe a little for me too. I've been watching him since the Carson days and absolutely lerf him.

Let me tell you, the day did not disappoint! It was one of the most exciting, amazebells days ever! First, the family we went with, the lovely folk who gave us this mind blowing experience, were simply the nicest, grooviest, most I-really-hope-to-be-friends-with peeps. Just adored all three of them!!! Super cute, super sweet, super fun. I want to make them chicken or pie or something. Second, while Mr Hanna was a little over occupied with the circumstances of the show, and we only got to spend a couple of minutes with him, he is everything, I mean EVERYTHING I hoped he would be. Just. The. Nicest. Guy! Seriously! Third, you would not believe the animals we got to pet and hold and squeal about! (Please excuse the pics. They are blurry from giddy movement, adrenaline, low lighting and fast creatures - including the human variety). Here is a list of the critters we met - African Crested Porcupine, Marmoset, Ruffed Lemur, Hissing Cockroach, Eagle Owl, Burmese Python and, wait for it... alligator. Yep. We hung out and pet an alligator. Crazy pants, right? Fourth, one of my bestest pals wound up sharing the same experience through another completely serendipitous set of bizarre circumstances!

We got a little respite after the meet and greet before the show, and I'm glad. The adrenaline raged through us all and time was as blurry as the pics. We needed a small break. Thank goodness for beer. Once our hearts slowed to a normal pace and the sweat dissipated, we made our way into the concert hall and to our ridiculously awesome seats. Just insane.

The show was incredible and if you don't think I cried a little bit getting to share the experience as a family, all three of us together listening to brilliant music and seeing wild animals and Jack Hanna and just the "it"ness of it all, you're crazy. You bet I cried. I cried like a little girl... no... I cried like a mom. I kept thinking about Neil DeGrasse Tyson and his Carl Sagan moment. The one that altered his life. Could this have been that kind of moment for Pax? I don't know. What I do know is, it is a memory I will cherish for as long as I can cherish memories. A million dollar day. Thanks universe.

 *photos of other families not included, as I have not asked for permission yet.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Our Mommy & Kiddo Summertime Challenge Day One

So I kind of thought we would start our challenge the first week of summer break (1st week of June), but when I talked with the P Bear about it, he wanted to start right away. Well, ok then! Let's do this!

Yesterday was the grand kickoff. Why not jump in on a Wednesday? TV and computer went off a little after 9:00. (I forgot to set an alarm) We played "clickies" until our pal Sophie came over to join  us at 10:30. Once she got here all sorts of fun happened, including the most adorable game of Hide n' Seek ever! There is nothing cuter than a 2 year old and a 4 year old counting and hiding and seeking. Stinking precious! While they played, I cooked up a big picnic brunch which we ate in the backyard. It was a sunny day. They played outside. They played inside. They played outside again. I cleaned up the brunch. I did laundry. I watched in awe as the two friends bounced and climbed and giggled and dug in the dirt.

Around noon-thirty, little Sophie said "tired". I asked if she wanted a nap. She nodded. I asked if she wanted to sleep in Pax's bed (where they had just been bouncing and playing with stuffies). She nodded again. We climbed the stairs and went into the cool, now quiet room. She crawled in. I tucked. She then asked me to stay with her. Of course I obliged. I sat in the soft, blue glider and said, "sweet dreams". She then crawled out of bed and into my lap. She wanted me to rock her and "song". She dozed off to some Woody Guthrie and Nat King Cole. Once I heard the little asleep breaths, I tucked her back into the bed and went downstairs to be with my guy. I admit, that little moment made me nostalgic for two, and naps.

Now alone-ish with my guy, we read a thousand books. We played with toys. We talked. We hugged - a lot.

Some dark clouds, heavy with rain came rolling in. Pax and I hurried to save the sandbox and some toys still out on "wa savannah". We made it just in time. Drips plinked on our cheeks and noggins as we rushed the last bucket of animals in through the back door. Thunder rumbled and flashes popped in the sky. I could tell P Bear was a little uneasy, so I picked him up and put him on my lap. We sat in front of the open back door and watched the storm. We saw leaves rippling from the drops. We startled at the first bit of hail. We counted the seconds between lightening and thunder. We smelled the fragrant, soaked air. He told me he didn't like thunder, so I went old school and said it was simply angels bowling. He seemed fine with that. We experienced the storm together. It was like the world stopped just enough for us to have that moment. To create that memory. It was magic.

The storm subsided do a steady drizzle, so we went to have a snack in the dining room. Apples are so yummy when you share. About midway through a conversation, my phone started buzzing like mad. Reluctantly I went to see what it was, just in case. Right as I picked it up to read "Tornado warning in this area. Take shelter now" the sirens went off. A flash of panic went right through my solar plexus. I  told pax to go to the basement - NOW! I ran up the steps and got Sophie. She was still so sound asleep and sweaty. We flew down the steps and into the basement. It was dark, but we had just enough light to get to where we were going. I picked what I thought would be the safest spot. Then I grabbed a big, heavy blanket. I piled both kiddos on my lap, huddled over them and draped the blanket over all of us. The two babies clung to me and each other, having no idea of what was happening. I caught my breath and said it was going to be ok. I gently rocked them and did my best to explain and not frighten. They seemed fine.

I'm glad I had a little glowing rectangle in my pocket. I turned on the iPhone to see where the storm was, let Sophie's mommy know she was ok, tell my husband where we were and play some ABC's with the sweethearts in my care. We watched the radar to see the red triangle move away from our green dot. We even took a selfie in the dark. It certainly was an adventure, and living in the moment was an absolute.

Those kinds of situations are always intense, but add to it not only your baby, but one of your dearest friend's baby and it gets turned up to eleven! Even though the kidlets were laughing and snuggling and being perfectly ok, it took me a while to come back down out of the panic stratosphere. I kept it together on the outside, but man was I pair of duck feet in the water on the inside. To quote Chevy Chase "Where's the Tylenol?'

As you can probably guess, the storm passed and we went unscathed. It was a very real reminder of two things - 1) Life is fragile 2) Technology can be your friend. So I will continue to keep our summer challenge up, we will turn it all off at 9:00 AM, but we will make sure and keep it handy!!!

Stay happy everybody!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mommy & Kiddo Summertime Challenge!

Even though I am not Catholic, I really like the idea of Lent. Of seeing how I do without certain unnecessaries. This year I made it a good one. One that not only I took part in, but my little guy did as well. We gave up all glowing rectangles between the hours of 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM every day. And by "glowing rectangles" I mean computers, televisions, dvd players, smartphones, iPads, Kindles, etc. Anything that diverted attention from the moment we were actually living.

I admit, I thought it was going to be much harder than it was. Instead of the massive withdrawals and temptations to say "Oh Frank it, just watch some Sesame Street", we wound up having fun, laughing, reading and connecting in a way I hand't realized we missed. I always thought my little bear and I were close, were in a really good place, but a light was shined on us that I didn't expect. I was missing more than I thought. More than I want to miss.

With a clean air space I was able to listen. I fell in love with the way he plays. I heard the voices he used when making his animals talk and the little scenes he created. I learned so much about him. I found out what he hears from us, mom & dad. What he hears from the world too. I saw a glimpse of his perspective. It was eye opening. He's a good kid and this let me know exactly how good a kid he really is.

Time is so precious and without distraction and noise I was given back hours of my day. I was able to accomplish so much, so quickly that the clock afforded me mountains of play moments. Not only did I have the actual minutes, but I had focus. My mind was no longer elsewhere. It was there. It was present. I lived, I mean really lived my life for those few weeks. Not saying I went and took on a bucket list, what I did was savor and taste and linger in the memory making. I was rooted to the seconds.

It was my intention to keep the glowing rectangle ban going long after Easter, but as the situational poetry of life happens, intentions get tossed. Deadlines and obligations take precedence. April and May have flown by and I don't recognize the days. P is in front of a TV. I'm talking to you. This isn't what I want, for either of us.

So here we are. At the corner of What to Do. I think I'm gonna hang a left and get back to connecting and living and listening. Go back to clean air and unencumbered thought. I'm challenging myself and you. Lets' all do this. Let's take this challenge for ourselves, but mostly for the little humans we have been graced with. Let's take care of their spirits and not just their bodies. Let's connect. Let's focus. Let's adopt the old mantra,"Turn off and tune in". How? Here's how. Set your limit. I'm doing the 6-9 again for the entire summer break. Do what works for your family, but push yourself further than you think you can. If you think you can go two weeks, make it a month. Get your alarm all good and ready, set it for your start time and let it blow. Once it goes, so do you. Turn everything off. The only exception is urgent phone calls and work related emails with an absolute deadline. Emergencies only. Texts are only acceptable if it is used to meet with folks (i.e. directions, times, "we're here" sort of stuff) If you want to read, grab a book. And when you do, take a moment to smell the pages. It will rekindle your love of bindings. (Yes, I said re"Kindle") iPhones can be used for taking pictures. Remove your Facebook ap. You can get all "Twitter"pated later. During your hours, KEEP. It OFF. No music either, unless you are playing an instrument or singing out loud. If you need to make a note, grab a pencil. You want to take a long drive, play license plate bingo. No exceptions. I know, I know, it sounds almost impossible in our day. It isn't. Trust me. It isn't.

When I'm lying on my bed, saying my final "stay happy" I won't remember the "likes" I got. I won't give a rat's pucker about the season finale of "How I met Your Whatever the Hell" What I want to remember is sunshine and freckles and dirty fingernails and ladybugs and the best laugh in the whole wide world. So yeah, I'm doing this. You?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Birthday Baseball

My way groovy brother was in town for P Bear's birthday and took us out to the ball game! It was a great game, tons of fun and super hot! (at least for us spoiled Denverites) Pax got to meet Boon and get a signed baseball, play on the playground, have our whole section sing happy birthday to him, get a game ball and a quarter from some fellas in the stands, meet Dinger, tell him a joke and get an autograph, play on another playground, heat a hot dog & popcorn and have an overall awesome time!!! Thanks Uncle Erick!!!