Monday, August 23, 2010

Hello, My Name Is...

My Name is Cooper the Kindergartener and I'm a button up kind of guy. All the way up, every button, to the chin. I'm also a fan of the manpri, Sketchers, and camouflage. My mother is concerned that you might not understand these are my habits and my clothing choices. She did make me comb my hair on the first day of school, that was a waste of time. 45 minutes later it had dried into its usual position -- straight and bushy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer's Gone

I hate to burst your water balloon, but summer's gone. She flew away while we had chlorine in our eyes and none of us noticed how quickly she vanished.

The school bell sounded and suddenly I found my oldest was not in my garden, but in Kindergarten. With his shirt buttoned all the way up to his fairly clean chin and his backpack saggin' he stood in line under a huge and waving American flag and just walked right in leaving me waving good-bye and good luck and I'll see you at 4 p.m.

We have had delicious fun in the sun. We have played and sweated and stayed up late; and now we have to tow the line. Our lazy days, our party days, our late-night-dinners on the porch days are done, until June 2, 2011.

Surprisingly I have no tears for Summer and her rude departure, because I see fall on the horizon. I simply can't resist those Back-to-School Nights, new teachers, and playground friends. It helps that I have a new pair of boots in my closet that simply cannot be donned until the wind chills and the leaves fall, and maybe the snow flies.

PS -- The official First Day of Kindergarten photo was taken with my new phone! And I can't figure out how to get it off. So, stay tuned to see more.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

That's Just Mean

Mason loved the gritty beaches of Carlsbad. He's a digger. And a searcher. And fancies himself a scientist. At home we are used to his never-ending pursuit of rolley-polleys. (Can I tell you he found one in every single theme park we visited in California?!?!?) But at the beach he looked for "she shells". And he was dogged in his pursuit.

So a note to the clever Sea World employee who decided to use a seashell aggregate for the concrete sidewalks of Sea World. That's just mean. I can't tell you how many times Mason stopped to pick up embedded shells only to be frustrated by their permanence. I appreciate that you and your coworkers are sitting in some office overlooking the park and laughing your butts off, but come on.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Little Kiss

Inside jokes are the glue that keeps family and old friends together. It's nonsense to others and creates a circle of trust with those you love the most. From our trip we have an inside joke.

For reasons best left unexplained, our family -- every last member -- breaks into hysterical laughter when our youngest son says, "Dr. Pepper has a little kiss." I told you it was inside.

We want to remember our little inside joke forever. Can you remember yours?

PS -- Carole, this one's for you. And I think you'll know why. Again, with the inside jokes. Not funny.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Few Favorites

A rare flattering photo of my husband and me, taken by my sister-in-law.

Watching two cousins follow my brother into the ocean to face their fears....

And immediately run away from them.

A little cooperation...

Falling in love with the littlest one.

A daddy, unplugged.

Recognizing that no matter how good my yoga practice has become, I still have a LONG way to go.

Chasing the boys through a maze of obstacles with flip flops on my feet and an expensive camera in one hand.

Reaffirming that no matter where I go, I AM GINORMICA.

Knowing -- without question -- family vacations are less about where you go and more about who you take with you.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

An Interview with a Vacationer

What did you think about the ocean?
It was good. It tasted like salt on sand. The waves were pretty kinda different colors. The sand feeled like kinda soft and crunchy and smooth.

What was your favorite thing about California?
I don't know. LEGOland.

What was your favorite thing about LEGOland?
It was when we bought new LEGOs. How about the LEGO sign? I liked that.

What happened to you at Sea World?
Oh there was a favorite thing. It was the dolphin show. Also, the... thing... what... um... those guys were at. Those funny guys and those girls with painted suits and those monkey guys (Cirque Del Mar). They dived into the water. And those silly guys who were pushing that guy in the ball down.

What did you think about our hotel?
Oh that was go-od. Because it had... um... we could sleep with each other in the same room. And me and Mason could have sleep overs. And that's all.

What was the funniest thing your brother did when we were on vacation?
Oh... um... it was when he was just... when we were at the pool... and then he jumped in all by his-self. It was kinda funny when he bringed his Indiana Jones in the crabby patty car. And he was just wearing clothes to the swimming pool. That was funny.

Where would you like to go on your next vacation?
I wanna go... to... the... at... wait, where have we been? California, is that where we've already been? (Yes.) I want to go to the desert!

Friday, August 6, 2010

If I Ignore Her

I finally met Finley. Finley is my youngest niece -- I have nine. She is THE most daring. I love her to pieces. (Also she has pierced ears which I think is so dang cute on a baby with a naked noggin. So dang cute.)

Mason, I fear, has another opinion. There could be a few things at play:

1. He was insanely jealous to see his mama going gaga over baby Fin.

2. He thinks girls have cooties.

3. He is a damnable stick in the mud and it wasn't really Finley so much as life at the moment.

Enjoy these photos of his response to sitting in her stroller with her. He basically ignored her, while she -- sweet thing as she is -- inspected his tattoo. When pretending she wasn't there didn't work, he forced himself to fall asleep.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

May You Wander

Dear Travel Buddies,
This year your father and I gave you the gift of a family vacation. We didn't do it because you will remember how you felt when you first saw an 8'-tall Indiana Jones built from LEGOs. We did it so that you will build memories of loving to be with each other and with us. Our short excursion this year will be just the first of many because we value the education of expedition above many, many, many things.

I myself am not really a globe-trotter. But I have always dreamed of passage to places that have witnessed the milestones of mankind. I love history and hope to sightsee my way through most of the world by the time I take that final trek. Your father, on the other hand, has traveled A LOT of places. But not from wanderlust so much as necessity. As he made his own way in business he traversed the globe without vacationing in it and now I know he'd like to visit some of those same places again. This time just to knock around and have fun.

We hope you will join us. We hope we can accommodate your wildest requests. Because when we stood by you at the water's edge this week and looked out at the horizon I hope it instilled in you a wonder for what is out there... what you can find... where you may live... where you may love... where you may take your own familiy some day.

Wether you take a boat, take a plane, or take a caravan -- promise to take many more trips with me.
Your mama

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Funny Story About My Brother

Please notice this potentially awesome portrait of my husband and me at the beach.

I say potentially because we are cute and we're in a fun place enjoying our family vacation. It's a rare moment of the two of us in front of the camera. But my brother has to go and ruin it by coming up behind us and showboatin' around.

Funny thing is, he is known for this. In our wedding portraits there is a picture of the entire family surrounding my husband and me in all our marital bliss. It's potentially a great photo. Everyone is looking at the camera. Everyone has their eyes open. Everyone has a smile on their face -- except the bride. I am visibly surprised and have the startled look of a woman who has just had her ass grabbed. Guess who grabbed my ass.

I love that brother.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Lesson Learned from Blueberries

You know how you can look at a pint of blueberries -- their deep blue skins covered in the sparkles of freshly washed goodness -- and literally your mouth waters with the anticipation of biting into the first one. And every single one after, nearly the same as the one before. Then you spot a slightly green one and you pull back and go, "Ewwww, not eatin' that one."

Mason doesn't do this. If he sees a green one -- and I have literally seen him do this -- he'll coo with unabashed admiration and sing, "Oh pretty a colorful one." Then he'll carefully pinch it out of the bunch and turn it over and over as he inspects its green glory.

He sees color. More over, he sees differences in color and he rejoices in the diversity. Perhaps because he is Mason. Perhaps because he is a child. All I know is I don't see things the way he does. I hope he never changes. When is it, exactly, that we start seeing differences with disgust?

Only trouble is, he feels the same way about dirty bath water.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hello, Ocean

This week we met the ocean, the peaceful sea, the edge of our country, the beginning of a new world. We also learned that as two brothers -- we love the ocean in our own ways. One of us likes the surf, the tingle of salty water at our ankles, the splash of sea on our lips. The other prefers the prospect of digging in all that sand, pushing aside rocks to find shells, and feeling the grit under his nails.

When the sea splatted across my (cooper) lips for the first time I spat it out and mom asked, "What does the ocean taste like?" And I had to admit, "Like salt and pepper."