S&L

Mama Chas

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tough Boy, Tough Boy

So we have this fence enclosing our backyard. Beyond the fence is not only one of the most refreshing outdoor views in Rapid, especially with an overzealous sunset, but also a hill of weeds, probably snakes and vermin, and every single golf ball, soccer ball, baseball, football, kickball that escapes between our horizontal posts and those of the neighbors.

I had just taken a shower; Lucas had just smoked a golf ball into the weedy abyss.

"Mom, my ball went over the fence, will you go get it?"
"Oh buddy, I'm in my robe. I know you can handle it." (:been taking a Love & Logic class:)

After a deep breath and shoulder drop, with hesitance smeared across his adorable face, he reluctantly headed outside. I watch him go straight to the spot, assess the retaining wall drop off/climb, attempt it, climb back up, walk to the end where the drop off is less severe, enter, scan for his ball, retrieve the ball with so much pride emanating from his body, run inside to tell me about it...

"I got it!"

And in true Lucas fashion lately where he has to reenact everything for me, he continues: "Mommy, I was like this... TOUGH BOY, TOUGH BOY!" as he pumps his arms up and down with a snarl on his face. Total pep talk ~ I wholeheartedly LOL!!

Anything challenging in the past two days has been reversed with "tough boy, tough boy" and of course "tough girl, tough girl" for Scarlet. I will use it for as long as it works. And I give you permission to utilize this simple yet effective tool as well. Thanks Lucas.

In fact, I have to remember to use it on myself, be it "tough girl" or just "cmon Chas, get shit done" or lately, "Chas, you can do this." What is "this" you ask? It's been a sequence of events that has me thinking...

Sometimes you have to read the signs. I believe these have been signs. Maybe not, but hey, I am the player in my very own game of Life, so I define the rules.

One year ago, I was debating a trip to the Grand Canyon. While plenty of rationale told me not to go, a strong force was convincing me to say yes, and I did. Fast forward six months, Grand Canyon experience a fresh memory, I wrote a six page reflection for myself, but also for those I accompanied, including Ted, the 77-year-old who guided us, while completing his final trek.

Ted shared stories of NASA (his former employee), Area 51, airplanes, astronauts, outer space, worldwide hiking adventures, family, and more. I quickly realized this man's life was deserving of some print time, to help inspire others as he inspired me. Upon returning to Rapid, I approached Black Hills Faces Magazine about an article about Ted, and so began a month of interviews, research, education and writing. When the magazine came out in January, I think Ted realized he had more to tell and asked if I would consider writing his autobiography. Um yes? Holy crap. Insert: "tough girl, tough girl."  

24 hours later, a friend asked if I would write a screen play for a crazy story that unfortunately directed his life for the past year. One week later, I spoke to Scarlet's class about being a writer for Career Awareness Week. My personal contributions included newspaper and magazine articles I've written plus a couple other small things. While compiling my materials at home, Scarlet looked at my full bookshelf and asked, "did you write all of these books?" "No, honey." "Well, which ones did you write?" "None..."

Her classmate asked, "have you written any books?" "Not yet."

It's time.

TOUGH GIRL, TOUGH GIRL.

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Little Pumpkin (Bread)

Today, hubby took the kids to school, so I had a free morning to myself. YAY!!

What did I do, you ask? Take a long shower.... lie on the the bed with cucumbers on my closed eyelids.... Apply a firming masque.... Go to the gym.... Paint my nails.... Um no, actually I did that just before jumping on here at midnight.

I FINALLY saved the last six years of my life to an external hard drive, then upgraded my Operating System. Woo hoo, I am crazy! Seriously, MAC support is so hot, and well, supportive. Tony and I are like this X.

After such a delightful and productive morning, Lucas and I went outside to enjoy the last day of 50 degrees before the snow settles in, apparently in just a few hours. We cleaned up the backyard and the hill below. I had anticipated hanging beautiful red bows on our fence posts for several years, then finally purchased them at 80% off last year post-Christmas. Unfortunately, the wind gusts on our hill tend to bully any sort of outdoor decor. Our poor deck furniture always ends up in a huddle... "Seriously, guys, how long do we have to endure this?" Forever.

After a little backyard baseball, we decided to dust off the stroller to walk and pick up Scarlet from school. "Yes, Lucas, that is a great idea!" (Ahem, finally, crabby pants will nap.) And he did. Walking home, fighting the brewing storm ahead, winds gusting and cars passing, Scarlet tries oh so hard to discuss her day. I felt annoyed... not at her, but the fact that I couldn't hear her. Sometimes, she rambles; other times, she spills. I got the feeling she was spilling.

I stop.

"What, honey?"
 "I cried on the playground today."

No storm, no nap, nor hill is going to take this moment.
We talk. She talks. We hug. She smiles.

We move on.

As I was huffing and puffing, she was jabbing and gabbing: "Mom, I wasn't expecting to tell you this, but the words just want to come out of my mouth..." (I sure I hope I hear that the rest of my life.) "Honey, please know you can always tell me anything..."

If we lived closer to school, with fewer hills and a climate more conducive to stroller commuting, I would be all over that. Scarlet, who usually wants me to "be quiet and turn up the radio" as soon as she gets in the car after school (I get it, decompress baby girl), was especially vocal today, and I admit I LOVED it!!  Damn wind, however. And hills. 

It's been a lot of that lately: "I wasn't trying to smile, but my face was just making me... I wasn't trying to cry, but my body just wanted to... I didn't want to scream, but it just came out..." I swear, this girl explains her feeling better than an average adult. 

The other day: "Scarlet, why are you yelling? 
"I don't know. When you yell at me, it just makes me want to yell, too." 

Duh.

I seriously anticipate our conversations when she is a teenager. Deciphering the adult will be difficult.

Anyway.... home, all is good, getting ready for the big cabin weekend. Hopefully we make it up there with the incoming snow!

Last year at this time, I shared an awesome Buffalo Chex Mix recipe. I am not normally into Chex Mix, but this one happens to be pretty darn scrumptious. The biggest Chex Mix critics and non-eaters even agree. Check it out. And btw, I have toned down the Celery Seed to 1 tsp.

I also happen to make a mean Pumpkin Bread, which is definitely fun for Fall, but also for long cabin weekends, or whenever. Lucas was fighting an inner battle waiting for his moment to bite into its awesome goodness. At least I have one true fan. Oh yeah, and my neighbor and friend, whom I usually make this bread for every year for her fall birthday and didn't this year, until today. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each: cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice
1 2/3 cup flour
Blend.
1/2 cup salad oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup pumpkin (I do heaping)
2 eggs

Mix thoroughly, pour into well-greased (butter or spray) bread loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes, then check. I take mine out around 70ish minutes, or after I insert a toothpick and it comes out fairly clean. I then remove the bread from the oven, let it sit in the pan for awhile, then remove it from pan and set it on its side on a cooling rack. Soon, I trap its warmth in a layer of plastic wrap then foil wrap - against my beliefs, but so is the insane amount of flour and sugar. One day, I will health-ify this recipe. Until then, enjoy its gooey goodness!

Another year, another cabin, another weekend of memories! Power to yours.





  




Saturday, January 5, 2013

Guts and Regrets

Well, it's typically the beginning of a new year that should trigger resolutions, and while I had already been pondering a few, it was a particular event forcing me to make some serious changes in 2013.

People say, "don't live with regrets," which can be easily translated as, "live life to the fullest, don't hold back, live each day like it's your last." I can honestly say I have followed those cliches, and have taken full advantage of those excuses.

My regrets are "living life" too fully, and recklessly, then dealing with the repercussions. I am sick of regrets. Regrets don't feel good. They feel f@$#ing s*%#ty.

I also regret not nourishing my potential and letting days go by when I know I could be doing more, but making excuses instead. I hesitate to say this out loud, not just because I fear failing myself, but because more so, I fear failing others. But I am declaring to do more in 2013.

Push myself more. Love myself more. Believe in myself more. Do more.

Here goes... Top 10:

1. MINIMIZE: This process is/has been ongoing, but it takes never ending effort, so I am going to exert more of it. Simpler home = simpler mind (in a good way :)

2. PATIENCE: I don't know where mine has gone... it's on vacation, it's hiding, it's playing tricks on me. And I don't like it, so I am sending out a "search party" as Scarlet would say, to retrieve my patience that used to define me.

3. TIME: I vow to be less rushed all the time, whether it's getting out the door on a schedule or not. If it's school, an appointment, anything with a specific time, then damnet, get ready earlier. Adam asks me why I always have to push it to the last minute... I don't know. I will work on it. Even not on a schedule, I feel like I'm always pushing, rushing, barking. S...L...O...W...D...O...W...N

4. MUSIC: My brother always strikes up conversations with me about new music, and I have nothing to contribute. With the help of a trusty source and a little time on my part, I hope to enjoy Music 101 again.

5. POETRY: It's something I've been thinking about for awhile, just need to attack it.

6. CRAFTS: Pinterest should have an expiration date on people's pins, simply to encourage procrastinators like me to act upon all those wonderful, doable ideas.

7. MULTI-TASK: I was such a liar when I used to add this quality on my resume. I don't know how to do it. I'm all or nothing. Full throttle. The in between frazzles me. I have to realize I don't have to do EVERYTHING well because the alternative is not do it at all, and well, that isn't productive.

8. COOK: I'm not saying I need to take on a new hobby, explore the culinary arts nor compete with family and friends with the natural knack. I just want to provide more healthy options for my family. Scarlet is halfway through Kindergarten and already sick of her packed lunches and won't eat school lunches, which I am totally fine with; however, I do want to expand her food choices. So I need to take that on. Healthy snacks and school lunch options, here I come.

9. NOURISH: I'm not talking about food now; I'm talking about people, the friends and family who love and support me, and I often fail to reciprocate. They all know I refuse to text and drive, and try hard not to text when I'm hanging out with my kiddos. But I admit sometimes I just choose to ignore. Not anyone in particular, just the outside world in general I guess. With my new iPhone and touch tone gloves, my excuses are dwindling. But it's more than texting. I want to open my eyes to more.

10. EMBRACE: Why do I view so many things as a nuisance? Taking a shower, corresponding with people, cleaning the toy room, fighting the wind, changing a light bulb?? When I take the time to breathe and embrace the nuances of life, I know I feel better, so I need to do that more often. It's not annoying, it's just life. Accept it. I will be happier. You will be happier. Speaking of....

Happy New Year!





Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Grandpa, A Grandson, A Girlfriend, A Niece, A Cousin, and Me

I have this love-hate relationship with blogging. While I love an avenue to vent and share, I equally hate how inhibited I've become. I used to write just because I love to, but lately I feel I have more unpublished posts than published for a couple reasons. One: I suck at finalizing tasks. Two: I want to revise too much, which is not exactly conducive to the blogosphere where life is fleeting.

So instead of actually blogging, I've been reading about blogging (I'm crazily skilled in dodge ball). This whole realm of communication began based on people keeping online logs, journals, diaries. Occasionally, while cleaning out a closet or file cabinet, I'll come across one of my old diaries and take a few minutes to read. Definitely no editing going on there, just pure emotion, story telling, daily regurgitation.

Yesterday, I opened my journal from my recent Grand Canyon excursion. The first page included a small rant after the first day. Here it is, short but unedited. And so thankful we packed that cardboard bottle of wine because I needed it. Immensely. Not sure who I was the end of that day. Only knew I wasn't feeling confident. And that was not cool...


Day 1: Hiked from 10:30am-5:30pm
Hermit Trail to Waldron Trail to Dripping Springs to Boucher Trail to camp just below Yuma Point

I'll start with how the day began, not how it ended... 
Well, it ended atop a cliff rock overlooking the grandiose Grand Canyon, but the latter part of the journey was emotional. 
And scary. And trying. And challenging. And beautiful. 
We began on a highly traveled route, but ended on a route not meant for a mom of two, scared shitless, 
scaling slippery terrain sideways, walking a tight rope above rocks and cacti, oh, with a fall-to-your-death drop off. 
"You can do it, Chas. You can do it... WTF AM I DOING??? You can do it. Baby steps." 
Kids' faces. 
Falling. 
"I'm not comfortable with this." 
Frantic. Shaking. Ready to cry. 
Scarlet. Lucas. Adam. 
I could cry right now. Been so emotional lately. Not sure why?
When I look back, literally sitting atop a cliff near Yuma Point, I can see the terrain we crossed today, 
expansive in size but nothing compared to the vastness that lies on the other side. 
What will tomorrow bring? 
Big picture, daunting task. 
Every step... baby steps. 
Up, down, sideways.

I tended to focus on the negative that night only because I simply couldn't help myself. It was an experience I wanted to remember but forget. In retrospect, that single day taught me to believe in myself, again. A hard lesson to learn, but well worth the sacrifice. Just like in life, turning back wasn't an option. Onward only.

The beautiful parts are better represented in pictures.

 Taking a small break on the way down.

 Okay, see the orange-colored rock (Supai), see where a couple of its layers down jut out on the edge with a straight drop off, 
see how that curves around to the point of where I took this picture? Well, that's what we hiked, very carefully, and you can't even begin to see the narrow and steep passages created by the continuous in's and out's. And that was the easy part!

Sometimes it felt like we were walking right into the sky.

 Yay for water! Had no idea this luxury until the second night. Another story to come :)

Drip, drip. But welcomed the change of atmosphere and focus.

 Camp that first night. Never thought we'd find a flat place to lay our weary heads, but behold the perfect spot.

Saved by the wine and Easy Cheese!

Would I do it again?? Yes. 
But with a few revisions.




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall Infatuation

Should you ask, "Hey Chas, what's your favorite season?"
I would answer, "Hey you, I love Fall!"

Sure, summer is fun with camping and boating; winter is a nice change with skiing and sledding; spring is always invigorating with new life. But hands down, I am infatuated with fall.

One easy reason is that I just so happen to share a birthday week with two of my three siblings. I know, weird, huh. Brother, two years older and five days ahead of mine. Sister, one year younger and one day behind mine. Hmm, must have been some long, cold January's. And our birthdays precede Halloween, one of my favorite holidays, by only a few days, so that adds to the excitement.

For many nostalgic reasons, I dig on the month of October. Of course memories of communal b-day celebrations warm my heart. And yes, Halloween is my thing. But it's more than that... Especially living in the Hills full of foliage, now the most enigmatic colors of reds and oranges and yellows, enveloping me. Many people get annoyed by the falling leaves. I like seeing them up close, in their crisp, hued state. I equally enjoy seeing them at a distance, as a colored canvas representing change. 


My Fall Infatuation actually began a couple weekends ago 
when I took the kids to the downtown Pumpkin "Bestibal" (Lucas).

It was a warm day, feeling more like the remnants of summer 
rather than the beginning of autumn. 

The kids weren't exactly feeling it either... 

But a cold front moved in last week finally bringing that "nip to the air."
Fall is officially here!

Time for two more fall faves: decorations and food.

Driving home from Scarlet's school on Friday,
I explained: "The house might look a little different when we get home..."

Lucas blurted: "Foh Ha-woh-ween!"

Scarlet responded: "I thought you were going to say it was clean or something."

I defended: "No silly, decorating is way cooler than cleaning."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I read blogs of funky designers and do-it-yourselfers, and I adamantly claim to be nothing of the sort.
But I do like to spice up the space, especially for my favorite season.
And I like to create holiday scenes the kids can play in/with/around. Interactive vs no touchy.


My little helper suggested we place the big pumpkin on the chest, so that when people walk in the house, they can say:
"Whoa, wook at that huge punkin!" As he spreads his arms, raises his eyebrows, inflects his voice. He's so fun to hang out with :)


Kids have already assumed their roles in both settings.
I wasn't sure if they would incorporate their Little People or their little animals, but instead they went with Batman and Green Lantern.
And Scarlet has been wearing a cat mask and tail, arching her back and lurking around like the black cats in the pics.
OMG it is hilarious!

I added this next pic for two reasons. One, the Halloween frame in the middle was a gift from my mom years ago. 
It's a past costume pic of me, age 8 or 9 maybe, dressed up as movie star. Comes out of the vault every year. Thanks Mom! 

Secondly, I never did pay homage on here to our buddy Ryan Baldwin for building us such a cool mantel. 
Click his name to see more. Like him on FB. Absolutely amazing custom woodworking.
 

Okay, this next one is a pretty lame effort, but I was going for an abstract haunted house look...
Well, anyway, Lucas liked sticking the colorful spider rings into the cobweb crap. 

And I was really sick of taping the movable skeleton to the front door, then being startled EVERY time I walked by
thinking someone was standing there. So I "hung" it in the dining room, and now the kids can play with its appendages.
Lucas decided to punch it, but the paper thin body + hard window background changed that game quickly.


We ended the day coloring Halloween pictures to send to Grandma's and Great-Grandma's. They love getting mail. 
And I kind of love coloring. Okay, I DO love coloring. And I still color pictures for my Grandma :)


I just learned you can save gourds and reuse them as decoration. I bought this Swan Gourd at our church's pumpkin patch for $5. 
Apparently, I just let it dry out in the garage, and it's good to go for next year. 
A brown color, nonetheless, but not rotten, with seeds inside. My very own maraca, plus a cheap, easy, natural fall decoration idea.


Decorations ~ check.
Food ~ next.

Sunday's agenda was a Crock pot simmering with soup and an oven churning out breads. 
My specialty is Pumpkin, I recently found an awesome Zucchini one, plus I had three overripe Bananas staring at me, 
but whilst looking for the recipes, I came across my mom's famous Sugar Cookies. 
Oh man, can't get them out of my head...

Alright, last of the zucchini from my garden, I will grate you now, bake you later (recipe to come), 
but today, the kids and I are going to have a cookie extravaganza!
And so it began... Time consuming but oh so yummy. 


Definitely not as pretty and meticulous as my mother's, but each batch got better. 
Why? Because each time I rolled out the dough, I remembered... 


I remembered sitting on the table as a kid. Watching her. Observing her. Looking at her. Everything she did was so motherly, and thoughtful, and perfect. She rolled the dough so smoothly, swiping flour on the pin so it wouldn't stick, and squishing up the outer edges to close the cracks, then when the dough pancake was just the right thickness, sticking the cookie cutters of leaves and bats and pumpkins into the flour to prevent them from sticking to the dough, because she had to have the lines to fill in with her frosting tool, the one she still uses today, to create the most perfect looking and sweet tasting sugar cookies you have ever encountered. 

I know she's looking to hand down the tradition, but truth is, I don't think I have the patience for it.
I covered my cookie cutter lines with a spread of frosting because the detail was too much for me.
And I eat WAY too much raw dough. That shit is so good.

So here is the recipe. Hope you enjoy, and create some memories with your own family.


Best Sugar Cookies EVER ~ by the one & only "Silver Fox"
2/3 cup Crisco shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
* cream together with fork

Add 1 egg - beat until fluffy
Stir in 4 tsp milk
Add: 
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
* stir then knead with hands

Chill in fridge at least an hour, but good for couple days.
Cut into desired shapes. Bake @ 350, approx 8-9 min. Cool on wax paper.

HINTS:
roll the dough thick ~ cookies will rise then fall so take out before they're done ~ triple or more the recipe because one batch hardly makes anything when you roll it thick ~ alternate between two cookie sheets so the warm one doesn't cause brown bottoms


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Because I already mentioned Baldwin, and because I already had my camera out, and because Christmas is coming, I snapped some quick pics of other ways this master woodsman stamped our home.

Entertainment stand,
small and large book stands,
two hanging shelves.
Plus our extra special mantel.
Plus our beloved deck (pics another time).

Thanks Ryan. Our house became our home through your vision and mad skills.










Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chapter 1: New Leaf ~ Just in Time for Fall


 I feel like I'm always so serious... so here it is, my attempt to balance both sides. Cuz I am. And I do.

But SERIOUSLY, I did just return from a trip that taught me a thing or two about myself. Those who know me, know how much I love cliches: "If you can hike the Grand Canyon, you can do anything!" Okay I just puked a little in my mouth, but fer reelz people....

I am kind of bad ass now, which is exactly how I felt after ascending the belly of the beast.

Urinated in a porcelain toilet, washed hands under a faucet, ordered a slice of pizza, drank an amber beer, made a short phone call, gazed across my civilized surroundings, and reflectively thought: "Everyone is lame, and I am Awesome, with a capital A."

I refuse to sugar coat. Especially after not showering for countless days and somewhat enjoying my raw adrenaline scent.

But realistically, anything worth doing is hard work. Hiking the Grand Canyon is hard work. Getting up every day is hard work. Maintaining a certain lifestyle is hard work. Sometimes even having fun is hard work.

Conclusion to this seven-day adventure: the key to handling, enjoying, prospering in This Thing Called Life is...


BABY STEPS
BABY STEPS
BABY STEPS


I have decided that when I need to focus, I am going to wear my wide brim hat that provided just the right amount of tunnel vision I required to cross that slippery-sloped Supai rock that taunted me with its adventurous allure.

After walking sideways, balancing a 50lb pack on my back, secretly swearing at our trip leader, repeating "I'm not comfortable with this," with knees shaking uncontrollably, I knew this was just the beginning.
I needed a plan.


Maybe stopping at this office should have been my first clue...

Maybe reading the Backcountry Permit prior to descending should have been my second clue...
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

 ME: completely oblivious!

Truth is, I almost shaved my head the morning of my flight because I thought I had lice. 
I was committed at this point, and I was doing it. No bugs nor ledge was going to scare me.

I plan to unfold the journey here through pics and words. 
Please enjoy and be inspired to do something RARE


FACT: 
Of the 5 million people who visit the Grand Canyon every year, 
less than 1% of the visitors actually go to the very bottom.



I pooped on the bottom.
In a hole I dug with a yellow shovel. 
Uh-huh.

DARE to be RARE



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Sunday, September 30, 2012

About Me

This Thing Called Life ~ by mAmA chAs


I am mAmA chAs. I LOVE my children, family and friends more than anything. 
I am an observer who witnesses and questions: cancer, allergies, obesity. 
I am a researcher who suspects globs of greed and dishonesty. 
I am a humanitarian who has put some pieces together. 
I am an educator who believes in sharing truth. 
I am me who needs an excuse to write.
I am the author of my one life. 
I am mAmA chAs


I am neither official nor professional,
but simply a person who likes to REVIEW and REVISE.
My journey makes me think.
Hopefully you will enjoy it, respond to it, take action from it.
Hopefully I will, too.






Meanwhile, I simply cannot choose a specific focus for This Thing Called Life. I know, total blog-world faux pas, but truth is, I'm a little wishy washy and noncommittal.

In my defense, however, life leads us in all directions. While I attempt to read my compass, you will be empowered with all that I am thus far.







This Thing Called Life

1/2 Parenting
1/2 Healthy Living
Hearty doses of Education
Some Cleaning, More Greening
Splashes of Crafts, Food & Fashion
Sprinkles of Pictures & Stories
 Drizzle of Honest Confidence
Rue of Morals & Manners
Dash of Redemption
Pinches of Love
Fold in Hugs
Simmer

Pairs well with red or white wine,
depending on the season, or the evening, or my mood.




So, what "About Me"? 
I don't know...

but I seem to think about shit all day,
and I wish I wrote more often,
and I am intrigued by the cyber world,
and I have countless projects I'd like to complete,
and I have important information to share,
and I like to take pictures,
and I like to brag about my kids,
and I like to encourage healthier living,
and I need motivation to do it all,
so I blog about it.
Plus my family and friends encourage me;
sure hope they're right.
Plus I think I have all the answers...
...totally untrue, but exactly my purpose.

I ask questions ~ helps ME grow. 
I desire to educate ~ helps YOU grow. 
I like to have fun ~ helps US grow.





Please become a Member (up & to the right).
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I think I'm ready to play the game.
Thanks!







Change takes time, effort and patience.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ode to Adam




Caring.
Trustworthy.  Honest.  
Smart.  Realistic.  
Sensitive
Handsome.
Funny.  Friendly.  Likable.  
Driven.  Reliable.
SOLID.
Mine.


Nine years ago on September 6th, Adam and I were married. Wonderful wedding memories from that fabulous fall day. Including friends and family from all over the United States. So many flew, drove, walked to join us, and it was amazing. And beautiful. And so much fun! And so appreciated. We felt the love of each other, and everyone around us.

Nineteen years ago this past June, Adam and I met. Twirling our whistles as fellow lifeguards at the local pool. Nothing like a bikini and speedo to spark a flame. Although he couldn't yet drive after dark, we could write a memoir of that first summer in love :)

Throughout the years, we have grown, revised, reacted, reviewed, enjoyed our life together.

And oh what a life it is. . . Truly beginning the day we traversed cross country with a U-Haul full of U-S, to begin a life in unknown territory. As always, Adam exceeded all expectations, quickly changing our days of viewing the Empire State Building from our rooftop in Jersey City to enjoying the thrills of New York City. And that we did! Friends and memories we will always share. 

Scarlet joined our union five years ago, and forced life to slow down. She and I spent many long days in a 1200 square foot apartment in Hoboken. To some, that sounds dreary. To me, it was dreamy. And I thank my husband for that. Fast forward five years, and I am still living that dream. 

Different town, different state. More gratitude, if possible.

I am eternally grateful for our beautiful home and life far beyond anything I ever imagined. I love being home with our children, witnessing their daily lives, reporting special moments, watching our mini me's growing and learning. 
  
 I am 
very blessed,
thankful,
and happy :)



Thank you, Adam, for being our rock. 


 
For being the 
caring, 
trustworthy, 
honest, 
smart, 
realistic, 
sensitive, 
handsome, 
funny, 
friendly, 
likable, 
driven, 
reliable, 
solid husband of 
mine. 



Our children adore you. I do, too. I don't tell you enough.






And for 

... sometimes ...

just playing along!










 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dear Kindergarten Teacher,

I've been prompted to write again. Summer sabbatical is over. 

First, Scarlet's Kindergarten teacher has asked the parents to "please jot me a note/letter about your child's likes, hobbies, and your hopes and dreams for him/her and for Kindergarten." Plus I never did write her a letter like I did Lucas when she turned the big 5 this summer. Bad mom.

Second, WEGO Health blog is conducting a writer's challenge; I'm partaking in the Parenting Edition. I hope to fulfill the daily posts for the next eight days, but truthfully, this is my last full week with my baby girl, so will do my best. Here goes...
____________________________________________________________




Dear Mrs. D,
 

Scarlet
Serious but Silly
Skinny but Strong
Independent but Hesitant
Imaginative but Contemplative
Stubborn but Submissive
Sensitive but Positive
 Sweet

...
Scarlet didn't walk without hanging onto a wall or a hand until she was 15 months old. Once she let go, she ran. Never a skinned knee. She observes, assesses, then acts. 




She is constantly thinking. We were talking about Kindergarten the other day. She hugged me tightly and quietly asked, "What if I have a problem? 
What if I don't know how to do something?" My little perfectionist:)

 


 
She is shy and sensitive, always claiming she's "too scared." Yet she possesses this strong, silent leadership quality that results in the neighbor kids (even the older ones) playing "lion" in our front yard, or having a boat full of little girlfriends in an uproar. 
No pun intended.

 








She absolutely thrives in imaginary play. It's so fun to observe, but as my brother says, "I would love to be inside her head for just one day." Sometimes she'll just string random large words together, often she'll quote someone or something, but usually she's comprehending This Thing Called Life out loud. 

She does like to repeat herself. Did I mention she likes to repeat herself? She explains it is so people can hear and understand her. 

She definitely owns and verbalizes her feelings, 
so realistically sometimes it's difficult to remember who is the parent. 

She always has a plan and can get frustrated when that plan doesn't unfold just right. Deep breaths.

She is a total narrator! Describing what she is doing, 
why she is doing it, and often instructing her brother to follow her script.

She is very smart, 
and equally sweet. 
A challenge to crack, 
but oh so worth it.
A little lovely being.


Likes/Hobbies:
Scarlet likes to pretend she's a grown up, act out any animal, draw & color & paint, tell stories, read books, listen to Zac Brown Band, dance, use her imagination, get dirty, play with her brother, be with her family. 















Hopes/Dreams:
I hope she challenges herself and builds confidence. 
I hope she makes true friends and maintains a good heart. 
I hope she treats people respectfully and remains grateful. 
I hope she learns amazing things and blows her beautiful mind. 
I hope she relaxes and has fun :)

Sincerely,
Mama Chas