21 Months: Toddler Time

Lucky lucky me got to spend another week with Angel Boy 2.0.

AB 1.0 asked me to bring some of his favorite childhood Christmas tree ornaments that his grandma and I had collected over the years so they could continue the tradition.

We brought home a seven-foot Noble fir and spent my first night decorating the tree with Theo. It took a while, but he finally understood the concept of leaving the ornaments ON the tree and not pulling them off and throwing them like a major league pitcher.

Although it had been raining for a few days, while I was there, the weather was beautiful but FREEZING, at least for this SoCal girl. I was wearing about a dozen layers, perfectly suited for Pacific Northwest arctic temps.

The next morning Mr. T and I went on a walk to the marina. He was all bundled up and you can see the snow on the Olympic mountains in the background.

B039A72B-F9FE-4029-8A17-8C5F774D3CC462F33226-5031-43D3-B254-9A39B15D69A1CC4686B1-CE4F-40E8-B342-55BDDDD473DB

On the way to Ballard Locks.64F334D4-FE48-441F-9658-D72E7951B705

After a power nap, Theo and I made a pizza, helping me roll out the dough and scattering sliced zucchini, green peppers, and broccoli over tomato sauce.  With lentil soup, it was a perfect winter lunch.

For some reason, I became his sole choice for ALL diaper changes…AmmahAmmah had to do them all, and there were NO complaints from mom or dad. Besotted as I am with this little human, even THAT melted my heart and I gladly complied with his request.

These moments are so fleeting – one minute you’re changing a diaper and the next you’re sending them off to college. I learned a long time ago with the original Angel Boy to appreciate each and every detail along the journey. Even diaper changes. Yes, even that.

When he was here for Thanksgiving and we walked to the park and he was kinda balky, I created the game of “Puppy” with each of us holding something (or a pretend something) as a leash to encourage him to keep moving, and he remembered (!) which meant there was lots of puppy play and kitty play. And tea parties.

Yes, I am the ULTIMATE playmate. Laser focused attention. HEAVEN. BLISSFUL. JOY.

EF00EA0F-55A4-43BB-9777-2D1BEB561D83As the sun set in the evening, he’d choose a few books and we’d snuggle on the sofa and wind down with Peppa the Pig or Postman Pat or his new Hannukah book or my favorite ones about animals.

He’s memorized so many stories that have already been read to him a billion times.

It’s an important interactive pre-reading experience.

To engage a bright young mind with a lifelong love of learning and reading is a goal we all share.

One of those priceless moments I’ll forever savor and never forget is the heavy weight of a perfectly relaxed little boy nestled in the curve of my protective arm, feeling his excitement as he points to the picture of a wolf when prompted and howls when asked, “what does a wolf say?”

The next day we went to his Gymboree class, which was so cool for me because I had taken his dad there when they first started franchising in the 1980s.

It was amazing to observe Theo’s interaction with the instructor and other children. He is so much like his daddy was at that age, it’s a great response to the debate of nature versus nurture. When my son was very little, a brilliant woman told me “he sees the world in his own way” and I saw those very same characteristics in Theo. He’s not shy, he’s exceptionally self confident, but like his dad, he’s reserved; a thinker and an observer, absorbing everything and filing it away in his mind to process in his own way, but he’s not much of an active participant, although he very much enjoyed himself and helped pick up and put away the musical instruments when it was over. This week was the culmination of Beatle’s music, so when we went back home, I played the same songs that we heard in class, Yellow Submarine, All You Need is Love, and Hello/Goodbye. Theo sung along and shook the maracas exactly the same way he had paid such close attention to. With all children, it’s a great idea to take their lead in situations like this and let them guide their level of participation.

His verbal skills are on fire now, parroting dozens of new words and learning sentence structure. I call it the Helen Keller moment. Two-word directives like “Theo down” …Choo choo loud” “Daddy home” is being expanded upon. DIL and I both heard him clearly say “I want Abby’s cake” when we had a little birthday party for a friend. OF COURSE he was rewarded with the cake that he wanted. OF COURSE. It’s all about positive reinforcement, right?

My brother came to visit from Portland for a couple of days and one of our excursions was the zoo. As you might imagine, I hate zoos. I hate caged and captive wild animals. I hate that their very existence is used to make money as entertainment. I HATE seeing them in their unnatural habitats. But I figured that if I went to the zoo, later on at the appropriate age, I could begin a discussion about all of that, so I did. Theo especially loves gorillas and flamingos, so that’s what we saw. I can’t tell you how sad it was to watch those magnificent gorillas who should have been SOMEWHERE ELSE and I actually thought they seemed depressed. I felt like I shouldn’t be looking at him. Tragic.

gorillazoo

DSCN1143

The very best part of the day was on the way out.

I noticed a woman crouched on one knee pointing a camera into a tree. I looked up and saw a magnificent OWL, also one of Theo’s fave animals. When he followed my gaze and saw the owl, he was transfixed. We stayed there for a bit and he called it Daddy Owl because it was so large. The sun was going down, so this isn’t the best pic, but it was a spectacular sighting.

owlzoo

Although he gifted me with a nasty sore throat and the beginnings of the flu or some type of upper respiratory infection, it was once again a magical time; although flying home to vicious Santa Ana winds and out of control fires, loss of homes, dozens of horses perishing, and emergency notifications from the city to prepare for possible evacuation brought me right back to reality. The winds have died down for now but are forecasted to be gust at 50+ mph on Sunday.

Advertisements

Moon Perched on Power Lines

I walked to the beach and back, about a six-mile round trip, and captured this quirky pic with my phone of the almost Supermoon over Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

Sunday’s full moon will bring the biggest and brightest of the year so far. December 3rd’s Full Cold Moon is the only supermoon of 2017.

A supermoon occurs when a full moon coincides with the perigee of the moon’s orbital cycle. A perigee is the point at which the moon moves closest to Earth during orbit. Because the orbit is not a perfect circle, this means the moon typically sits anywhere between 252,000 and 226,000 miles from Earth. That’s a difference of 26,000 miles—longer than the entire circumference of the Earth.
(www.newsweek.com/supermoon-2017-full-cold-moon-728118)

MoononPowerlines

ENOUGH

Please take the time to read this post from one of my sisterbloggers, someone I love like a daughter. Enough is enough. This predation needs to STOP.

Cowboys and Crossbones

Did NO ONE pay attention to the lessons of body basics in kindergarten? Keep your fucking hands to yourself. PERIOD.

Sexual harassment in the workplace isn’t new. Yet every time I hear another famous name added to the growing list of sexual harassers, it triggers me in a way due to my residual PTSD from Rapegate…and my own experiences with sexual advances in the workplace.

Sexual harassment has been around as long as …well, FOREVER. There isn’t one industry that a woman doesn’t deal with this issue from men in power (and not in power). But, this morning, I had to sit down with a heavy pit in my stomach after the announcement that Matt Lauer was fired from the “Today” show effective immediately. Why? Due to “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.”

While the specifics haven’t been disclosed, the incident reported to the network’s HR department included enough evidence…

View original post 2,582 more words

Bitter+Sweet

IMG_3792

This is how I know I had an amazingspectularawesome fun time with Angel Boy 2.0–when his playroom looks like we’re in the eye of a Category 5 hurricane.

Hurricane Theo lol.

Yes, that’s a ukelele–Theo loves music, and yes, that’s a tent. He won’t sleep in a crib and we’re exploring other options.

Since SoCal had record breaking heat, most of our time was spent at the beach or the park or in the garden.

IMG_3764IMG_3787

Or even cooking with Grandma…which actually meant he was eating all the food in the bowl as I prepared my world famous Kugel, the only time canned fruit enters this house haha.

IMG_3758

I hope everyone had as wonderful and exhausting Thanksgiving as we did.

Now it’s time to clean up the mess.

That’s the bittersweet part. Saying goodbye. And the silence. No squeals, no laughter, no JOY!!!

#Thankful #Grateful #Love #Family

Taking a minute to breathe before heading to the airport to claim Angel Boy 2.0. I suppose I’ll have to tote my son and DIL home too, as 20 month Theo is still too young to fly to me by himself, but they don’t really matter. HAHA. No really. They.Do.Not.Matter.

For all the years that my laser focus was directed at the original Angel Boy, I bet if he had known that the way stop me from being a drone and hovering and helicoptering was simply to procreate, he might have done it YEARS AGO.

While I sense a slight, very slight wistfulness in his voice sometimes because it’s ALL ABOUT THEO, I know he’s very proud of his accomplishment in whatever part he played in the creation of Theodore. Just to see him play with Theo brings tears to my eyes.

Did you know that AB named Theo? Years ago, he shared an experience with his best friend in Greece where they were climbing Mt. Olympus and didn’t realize how very far it was to go up and then down, a miscalculation on the part of those (then) undergrads.

I don’t remember all the details, but just as they were near exhaustion, out of nowhere, a truck appeared, stopped, and the driver took pity on them and drove them to the bottom.

As they thanked him profusely, my son asked his name. In broken English, he said he was called Theodore, which means “god’s gift”.

Apparently, that kindness stayed with my son all these years, and that’s how Theo came to be.

My break is over. I’ve already made the stuffing, apple and pumpkin pies, kugel, and fresh cranberry sauce, filled the wading pool with water, and set up a little sandbox. I wanted to get as much done as possible in advance to have more playtime for me and Mr. T, and since I make everything from scratch, it helps to prep early.

It’s going to be record breaking heat today in the 80s at the beach.

Time to go to the airport!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and I’m sure you can figure out what I’m grateful for.

Home really is where the heart is today for sure!

*Toothbrush*Holiday Stocking Stuffer Idea*

It’s almost Thanksgiving which means it’s time for the WordPress blogpost snow (yippee!!) AND definitely time to think about gift giving. I’m always in a quandary about how to fill a stocking with something thoughtful AND useful.

If you’re like me and feel that good health and hygiene are important, think about this!

It’s perfect for all ages, and who can actually remember when they last replaced their toothbrush? Hmmm?

I was lucky to receive a sample package of Doctor Plotka’s™ Toothbrushes to try, and I’m super impressed!

Mouth Watchers becomes Doctor Plotka’s™! New look – Same brush!

Doctor Plotka™ is the leading toothbrush for better health! With naturally antimicrobial, soft flossing bristles that are ultra thin at the tip to properly reach and brush away food and plaque in normally missed areas, you’ll keep the dentist away and sport a stunning smile.

Floss like a boss with Doctor Plotka’s™ toothbrush!

DENTIST DEVELOPED – Dr. Ronald Plotka designed this innovative toothbrush as part of his thriving 40+ year Boston-based dental practice. Its technology has helped hundreds of his patients prevent cavities and achieve better oral health.

  • NATURALLY ANTIMICROBIAL* BRISTLES For Better Health – Infused with silver to naturally eliminate 99.9% of bacteria that grows on the bristles between uses, this innovative tool is always  clean and ready for the next use! Doctor Plotka™ helps achieve better overall health by not reintroducing harmful bacteria into your mouth and body.

  • FLOSSING BRISTLES™ – Revolutionary, dual-layered bristle structure provides superior cleaning: the outer bristles, thin as a human hair, gently brush away food and plaque in places other brushes miss! Getting deep down the groves, this toothbrush cleans where 90% of cavities form! With thicker inner bristles, you’ll get a complete cleaning of the teeth and gums every time.
  • LONG LASTING POLYESTER BRISTLES – You’ll get up to one extra month worth of use thanks to the polyester bending and upgraded properties. (The ADA – American Dental Association- recommend changing your toothbrush every 3 months. The Doctor Plotka’s™ brush will last about 4!)

Better teeth=better health. Toothbrushes come in Manual and Power, available in Adult, Youth and and Travel sizes and range in price from $4.99 to $24.99 for the power pack.

 

Follow Doctor Plotka™
Facebook
Twitter

(I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own.)

Heavenly Sky in SoCal

Tonight’s sunset was so effing glorious that for the first time in years, I saw people stopped in their tracks, looking up at the sky instead of down at their phones. It was like an episode of Twilight Zone, all heads tilted up staring at the beauty of sundown.

It was a shared moment of humanity; there were murmurs of “Oh my goodness, did you see that?” leaning on their cars in the Marshall’s parking lot, doing nothing but absorbing the beauty of the universe.

Time stood still for all of us for the duration of the last visible rays of the sun.

“Wow, that was amazing”, was the consensus.

Apparently, there’s still a glimmer of hope for us.

These are raw, unretouched photos from my iPhone.

Mother Nature, I raise a glass to your magnificence. It’s truly humbling.

IMG_3693IMG_3692IMG_3695IMG_3694.JPG

Holding Sacred Space

Sacred / Scared

Switch one letter and not only is the word changed, but so is the meaning. That opens up a whole new conversation about fear; fear of the known and fear of the unknown. I can admit that I own all of it in every form.

Recently, I was chatting about sacred space and how to define that concept. I wasn’t quite sure I knew enough about it to offer an intelligent explanation that would make sense-I’m still not sure it makes sense for a lot of reasons, but I know that it accurately describes how I’m feeling.

When we hold space, we release control. Yup, that’s about right.

It’s another way to show unconditional love. It’s SCARY.

According to GoodTherapy.org, around the midpoint of life, we start picking up hints that we’re not going to live forever. In Once Upon a Midlife, Allan Chinen describes how shocking this realization can be, accompanied by anxiety and grief.

Especially at such a point, a sense of the sacred can act to ground us. As the fact of “me” begins to lose its apparent guarantee of continuance as well as its centrality (because how central to the universe can I be if I’m not going to be around?), the universe is less and less about me. But perhaps I become more and more about something else, something larger than me.

As above, so below…

Carl Jung notes that, in this way, the ego becomes relativized and the process of individualization—becoming wholly who we were meant to be—is accomplished. We begin to live in a system of meaning where the earth revolves around the sun, the sun rotates through the galaxy, and the galaxy itself follows its own great attractor. Our experience then seems to participate in larger movements, whether those are our family or a cause in which we believe or humanity in general, a spiritual pathway or the life of the universe.

Everyone has trauma.

The only way through trauma is to feel it. If a person doesn’t feel their pain, their anger, their fear—if they instead repress it—it grows and festers, like a sliver that doesn’t get pulled out. But feelings like pain, anger and fear are painful and scary!  Feeling them isn’t fun. It takes a great amount of courage and strength to do so.

Holding space means letting go of judgment, of opening your heart and lending your courage; your strength. It means being there or not being there but communicating a safe environment like a safety net for someone you care for to exorcise the hurt within them.

Allowing that person to cry, to scream, to shudder; witnessing their authentic experience and reacting with love and acceptance to the extent that you are able, is a powerful way to support them in this most important spiritual and emotional work, holding hands physically and/or emotionally to walk through their journey of self discovery.

For me, it’s a little different. It might not make sense to anyone else but I visualize holding space more like a drawer I’ve cleared out in my bedroom or a space I’ve left empty in my heart. Being that resolute and solitary lighthouse, that beacon of shining white light on a dark and stormy night, blinking through the fog.

For me, this is sacred — even though at times it scares me to death.

 

(Featured image by Google/Pinterest)

 

What’s NOT the best choice for a bedtime story? Ballad of the Harp-Weaver.

There sat my mother
   With the harp against her shoulder
Looking nineteen
   And not a day older,
A smile about her lips,
   And a light about her head,
And her hands in the harp-strings
   Frozen dead.

 

Since I was lucky enough to become a grandma (thank you DIL!) I’m always searching for new and interesting books to tempt Angel Boy 2.0 and his voracious appetite for words and pictures and language. One of my favorite photos was of AB 2.0 at around two months looking intently at AB 1.0 while he read a story. We swear he was paying attention. Maybe/maybe not, but we like to think so.

I went to our local library where they have a store staffed by volunteers and always find great books-sadly some never even cracked open-and grabbed an armful.

I parked myself in a little child-sized chair and briefly skimmed through my treasures. I found a book by one of my son’s favorite authors, James Herriot, who wrote All Creatures Great and Small and Moses the Kitten, along with about a dozen other really good stories, mostly about animals (my personal interests shining through).

Somehow, though, this book slipped by…

The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay, illustrated by Beth Peek.

Visually stunning, I anticipated a lovely illustrated poem that Theo would enjoy, but waited until I had already driven home to fully read this one.

UH OH, thank goodness I read it first and I’m even more grateful that Theo can’t read at all.

I know I initially read it in high school, because as soon as I saw this page, the horror I had initially felt–returned.

A bedtime story? I think not. Not unless you want to seed some traumatic nightmares! I can’t imagine what kind of positive life lesson there could be here, can you?

I didn’t remember that it ended with the mom dying, having sacrificed her life for her son, and it’s not even that I DISAGREE with that concept because I believe a good parent should place her/his needs beneath those of the innocents we bring into this universe, BUT the guilt trip that little guy will most likely endure isn’t an equivalent value for having his loving mother ALIVE.

No wonder it appeared that this book looked as if it had never been touched.

The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver

“Son,” said my mother,
   When I was knee-high,
“You’ve need of clothes to cover you,
   And not a rag have I.
“There’s nothing in the house
   To make a boy breeches,
Nor shears to cut a cloth with
   Nor thread to take stitches.
“There’s nothing in the house
   But a loaf-end of rye,
And a harp with a woman’s head
   Nobody will buy,”
   And she began to cry.
That was in the early fall.
   When came the late fall,
“Son,” she said, “the sight of you
   Makes your mother’s blood crawl,—
“Little skinny shoulder-blades
   Sticking through your clothes!
And where you’ll get a jacket from
   God above knows.
“It’s lucky for me, lad,
   Your daddy’s in the ground,
And can’t see the way I let
   His son go around!”
   And she made a queer sound.
That was in the late fall.
   When the winter came,
I’d not a pair of breeches
   Nor a shirt to my name.
I couldn’t go to school,
   Or out of doors to play.
And all the other little boys
   Passed our way.
“Son,” said my mother,
   “Come, climb into my lap,
And I’ll chafe your little bones
   While you take a nap.”
And, oh, but we were silly
   For half an hour or more,
Me with my long legs
   Dragging on the floor,
A-rock-rock-rocking
   To a mother-goose rhyme!
Oh, but we were happy
   For half an hour’s time!
But there was I, a great boy,
   And what would folks say
To hear my mother singing me
   To sleep all day,
   In such a daft way?
Men say the winter
   Was bad that year;
Fuel was scarce,
   And food was dear.
A wind with a wolf’s head
   Howled about our door,
And we burned up the chairs
   And sat on the floor.
All that was left us
   Was a chair we couldn’t break,
And the harp with a woman’s head
   Nobody would take,
   For song or pity’s sake.
The night before Christmas
   I cried with the cold,
I cried myself to sleep
   Like a two-year-old.
And in the deep night
   I felt my mother rise,
And stare down upon me
   With love in her eyes.
I saw my mother sitting
   On the one good chair,
A light falling on her
   From I couldn’t tell where,
Looking nineteen,
   And not a day older,
And the harp with a woman’s head
   Leaned against her shoulder.
Her thin fingers, moving
   In the thin, tall strings,
Were weav-weav-weaving
   Wonderful things.
Many bright threads,
   From where I couldn’t see,
Were running through the harp-strings
  Rapidly,
And gold threads whistling
   Through my mother’s hand.
I saw the web grow,
   And the pattern expand.
She wove a child’s jacket,
   And when it was done
She laid it on the floor
   And wove another one.
She wove a red cloak
   So regal to see,
“She’s made it for a king’s son,”
   I said, “and not for me.”
   But I knew it was for me.
She wove a pair of breeches
   Quicker than that!
She wove a pair of boots
   And a little cocked hat.
She wove a pair of mittens,
   She wove a little blouse,
She wove all night
   In the still, cold house.
She sang as she worked,
   And the harp-strings spoke;
Her voice never faltered,
   And the thread never broke.
   And when I awoke,—
There sat my mother
   With the harp against her shoulder
Looking nineteen
   And not a day older,
A smile about her lips,
   And a light about her head,
And her hands in the harp-strings
   Frozen dead.
And piled up beside her
   And toppling to the skies,
Were the clothes of a king’s son,
   Just my size.

From Melody Beattie: Let the drama go

Lots of us connected with Melody Beattie when her first books were published: Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency. They offered us an open door of awareness and insight into the shadowy and hidden parts of ourselves that were perhaps conditioned from childhood to become dependent upon others’ opinions and feelings, and helped us to grow into flowering autonomous butterflies.

Like a car, it’s a good idea to get a little tune-up now and again and revisit those concepts and strengthen boundaries that may have become a bit too flexible.

She has an awesome website with daily meditations:
http://melodybeattie.com/category/daily-meditations/

This is today’s wisdom…just what I needed to read. I hope it resonates with you, too.

Let the drama go

November 04, 2017

Actors in movies or on television often must exaggerate their feelings in order to create drama on the screen. If they are hurt, they cry with a special intensity. If afraid, they scream and cower in a corner or curl up on a sofa. They may grab a person trying to leave and beg for that person to stay. In rage, they may stomp around hollering in a dramatic storm.

We can learn to separate what we’re feeling from what we do. If we’re feeling fear, hurt, anger, or any other emotion, we need to experience the emotion until we become clear. Sometimes beating a pillow helps release our anger. But we don’t have to stomp around and slam doors. That’s letting our emotions control us.

You don’t have to revel in your emotions. And you can separate your behaviors—what you do—from what you feel.

Stop being a twentieth-century drama queen. It isn’t necessary, anymore. We are more conscious than that now.

From the book: More Language of Letting Go