Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

First Day Back at Work.

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

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Last week was my first day back at work – REI – since Everett was born. It was a short four-hour shift that went surprisingly well. There were no tears on my part, and I successfully pumped during my fifteen-minute break.  Maz, meanwhile, did a great job watching the baby, though he had a bit of a struggle with the bottle.  He managed to get Everett to take 2oz, but it took well over an hour to accomplish.

That night, I more than made up for the time I missed. Everett ate every hour from midnight to 5am! It turns out that there is a term for that behavior: Reverse Cycle. When a baby misses Mom, he makes up the missed time overnight! Who knew?!

Anyway, since I have a bit of a shopping habit, I didn’t waste anytime getting Everett a nice souvenir from REI.  Luckily Maz doesn’t mind my spending money on our little pride and joy.

Mama Said ther’d be Days Like This

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

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“There’d be days like this, my mama said.” Indeed. Summertime temps in November. And clear skies in the Inland Valleys. For this, I am eternally grateful that I live in Southern California

After all, there is something about a wedding gown…

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

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… prettier than in any other gown in the world.  ~Douglas William Jerrold

Terri in the dress at her wedding on the 4th…prettier than ever, with an attitude to match. Congratulations, “baby” sister!

“Oh No!”

Friday, February 25th, 2011

We were approaching the 10 freeway en route to Mountain High to go snowboarding, when Parker screamed, “Oh no!” I’m sure I’m not the only one who recalls this same refrain from the many times Parker’s younger self had an “accident” within steps of the toilet. Uh huh, when I looked in the rear view mirror, it was that bad. Parker was holding his head with tears in his eyes.

“What, Parker?” I asked.

“Well, we can’t go snowboarding now! I forgot my helmet and goggles. You should just turn around an go home now, because I it will just be too late to go after we get back home and get them.”

“Parker…Stop freaking out…We can rent a helmet.”

“Oh. Okay.”

If that were only it for the drama today.

As we exited rentals about an hour later, I noticed that Parker looked like a stuffed sausage in his new North Face shell. “Huh?” I thought to myself. I swear it fit when we tried it on at the store…then, “There’s no way Parker can fill out an extra large…” I mean, at 5′2″ and over 100 pounds, nine-year-old Parker is a big kid. But he’s not that big.

“Parker, come back here.” I shouted over the wind. I checked the tag and, sure enough, we’d somehow purchased a size too small. I decided we’d stop at REI on the way home and exchange the jacket for the right size. (It was clearanced, so we couldn’t dally.)

Flash forward to early evening, after stopping at REI to exchange the jacket, after a 30 mile detour to take Quentin his dinner (he had a theater production and wouldn’t be home until late), and just before dropping Reiley off to sell Girl Scout cookies outside of Stater Brothers on our way “up the hill” home, Parker starts in again: “Well, we should just take my jacket back! We won’t be able to go snowboarding again anyway!” Yep, you guessed it. In my rear view mirror, I could see Parker appearing to crush his head between his hands and pull his hair out simultaneously.

“What now, Parker?” I asked…just a bit annoyed.

“I left my pass in the pocket of the jacket we returned to REI!”

“Is that it?” I thought, visions of all the times I’ve left things in stores flashing before my eyes. I said, “Don’t worry about it. We’ll call REI. I’m sure they can find the pass and hold it for us to pick up.”

I called REI; the woman who answered said that she remembered us, would look for the pass, and call back. In spite of Parker’s dire prediction that someone had already bought the jacket and scored his season pass, she did – right after we arrived at home. It’s currently waiting for us in the safe, affixed with a list of the names of all those who might be able to swing by over the weekend to pick it up.

Nothing Like Coordinated Snow Clothes and Gear

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

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My “skiers” this season, fully decked out in the the snow board helmets and goggles they received from their grandfather for Christmas. Note the pink duck tape on Parker's helmet this time; in addition to helping Reiley keep track of her “buddy” (Olivia is mine), it matches the girls’ ski sport ensembles much better than the yellow did.

Southern California Ski Trip

Friday, January 21st, 2011

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Today was the first day of my children’s “Ski and Snowboard Class,” scheduled to begin at 1 PM. Although I’d planned to leave by 10 AM so that we’d reach Mountain High in plenty of time to rent skis for Olivia (her siblings all snowboard and have their own equipment) and get everyone to class on time, we arrived just before 1 PM…and at the wrong location! By the time we arrived – via shuttle bus – at the “West” resort, checked in, and stowed our computer-readable passes safely in our left pockets, it was after 2:30 PM and I was ready to go home.

That was only the beginning!

In light of Parker's fall from the ski lift last winter, I assigned Reiley to be his “buddy” for the day, and admonished her to stay with him at all times. “No problema, Mama,” she said, pulling bright yellow duck tape out of her pocket. Before Parker could object, Reiley had affixed a giant X to the top of Parker’s helmet and quickly added a second X to his back. “So I’ll be able to find him among all the other little boys wearing black!” Pretty smart, huh?

With Parker in Reiley’s capable hands and both en route to the lift, I turned my attention to Olivia. Today was Olivia’s third time on skis ever, so I fully expected to spend more time keeping Olivia on her feet than staying on my own. I did not anticipate to spend the day hiking in the snow!

We started out okay. Olivia and I successfully negotiated the switchback lines up to the ski lift, and I managed to lift her up high enough for the scanner to read her pass without falling myself. More significantly, we both made it onto the lift on queue. Getting off was another matter entirely. I have a hard enough time getting off the lift as it is, without having to lift and guide a very beginner skier. As we approached the disembarkment point, I positioned myself at the edge of the chair and moved as far away from Olivia as I could. Terrified, she held onto my jacket as tightly as she held onto the back of the chair. Then, fingers crossed desperately as we swung over the top of the hill at the top of the lift, I put my board down and planted my back foot as I lifted Olivia out of the chair and onto the hill beside me. Unfortunately, when I urged Olivia to “go!” she did…still hanging onto me for her life.

The short story is that I “tripped,” hitting the ground just in time for Oliva summersault over me; before we could disengage ourselves and get up, another skier flew off the lift and into us. “Fan…tastic!” I thought.

Mustering every shred of optimism at my disposal, then, I guided Olivia to the top of the easiest slope and gave her a little shove. She hit the ground before my boots were back in their bindings. And so it went ALL THE WAY DOWN.

If I’d thought I was “done” before, I really was finished at this point…And then I saw the “Magic Carpet,” a kind of moving sidewalk set in the snow up a nearly flat slope next to the ski school. Hallelujah! Olivia and I spent the rest of the afternoon in that little corner of snowy Southern California. By the time we left, Olivia could sail successfully down the hill, over a “bump,” and turn around the corner to head back to the Magic Carpet.

It was a while before I spotted Reiley and Parker and waved them over, with just enough time for one more “run” before literally running to catch the last shuttle back to our car. Reiley graciously agreed to look after Olivia so that I could enjoy that last – and my only – run. (Gotta love that girl!)

I met the kids outside the lodge, then all of us -tired, very cold, and even more hungry – headed to the shuttle bus.

Was it worth it? For the moment, I’ll continue to withhold judgement and simply report that the kids’ response to my query, “Did you have a good time?” was an enthusiastic, “Yes!”

A Glimpse

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

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In The Family Man, Nicolas Cage gets a glimpse of the life he might have led if he’d married his college sweet heart. This is a glimpse of what you might have experienced Christmas Eve, if you – like each of us three sisters – were joined by your parents, five of your siblings, their spouses, and your collective 14 children, plus a handful of aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends. Happy holidays!

Hand Me Downs: The Next Generation

Monday, December 27th, 2010

KIDS122.JPGWhen I was growing up, hand-me-downs were a fact of life. Not a fact of my life, of course, because I was the eldest. Yet I knew exactly where my old clothes and toys went – “down” to my sister Francine, and then on to Kathy Jo…Each of my daughters have even been honored to wear some of my cherished childhood wardrobe. That’s Reiley on the left, sporting a genuine Hang Ten t-shirt that I remember taking to camp the summer I was eight.

Is it still considered a hand me down, then, or “vintage t-shirt”?

I held onto that t-shirt, but most of Reiley’s clothes have been passed down to Francine’s daughters. Some even made it “back” our way for Olivia to wear! Olivia was the ninth girl among my siblings children, not to mention my “baby,” so she ended up starting a whole new system of hand me downs that currently includes four of her younger cousins. I recently heard that a couple of them compete to lay claim to Olivia’s old clothes!

Hmm…I honestly don’t remember my own sisters being that enthusiastic about my cast offs!

Hand me downs continue to include a lot more than clothing in our family. No wonder, considering the high cost of all the baby stuff that almost naturally accumulates in the wake of every new bundle of joy. Two of my nieces used the co-sleeper my youngest children slept in, for instance, and Jeanna’s brand new daughter, Alexandra, just made her first trip out in “Bob,” bumblebee yellow  B.O.B. Ironman stroller that (Terri and) I used to run with Olivia when she was an infant and toddler. I’m sure the event was a lot more significant for us than it was – or ever will be – for her. Alexandra clearly looks just as thrilled about her new ride as her cousin Olivia did six years ago.

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On the first day of Christmas…

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

My true love sent to me, A Vizsla in a fir tree…

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Cooper opted to join me while I was sewing this morning, and was unusually quiet…Apparently, he thought we wouldn’t notice him amongst the gifts under the tree.

Visiting Santa

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

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When we were growing up, my brothers and sisters and I were required to have our picture taken with Santa every Christmas, regardless of our age. The only way my mom would allow you to miss the photo was if you had moved out. I hadn’t thought of continuing this tradition with my own child, but my sister Terri changed my mind.

So, while she was visiting, we dressed five-week-old Alexandra in her Christmas outfit and headed to the mall. After 30 minutes of driving around the parking lot, we finally found a parking spot. Then the three of us headed into the mall. The line for Santa wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be, so we got in line. After an hour of waiting amongst the strangest group of people I’ve ever seen assembled in one place, it was our turn! I only wanted to take a quick picture with my phone and head out of there. But no! In order to do that, I had to purchase a “package,” which included a single sheet of photos in whatever size I chose. I selected a sheet with two 5X7s, and it cost $25! Yes, I also got to take THIS picture on my phone. And Alexandra? She slept through the entire event, and appeared not even to know she sat on Santa’s lap. (Considering how many children scream when they’re forced to sit on the jolly old guy’s lap, that’s probably a good thing.)

In hindsight, the cute picture almost makes the whole thing worth it.