Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Midnight Rendezvous

Oooo, how I love a good intrigue.  I love it when the monotony of day to day life gets broken up by an unexpected happening.

We've been so busy, my husband and I, that sometimes we are like ships passing in the night.  So many nights are filled with different functions that one or the other of us is attending.  One goes out, the other stays by the supply tent with the kids and keeps watch.  (Only we have a duplex instead of a tent... and a refrigerator instead of a creek...)

A week or two ago, it was this same story and I was at home at night yet again, with the exasperating job of getting the little ones fed and refereeing their interactions with each other (which is exhausting, by the way) and so I stuck 'em in the bath to pass some time.  Never mind the dirt--its the time I'm worried about, the sooner I can get them in bed, the better.  It was a long night, much like all the others lately, when my phone rang.

I heard my mom on the other end of the phone saying, "Too bad you don't live closer to San Francisco..."

"San Francisco?" I inquired, "Do you mean San Luis Obispo?"

"No, San Francisco.  I have a layover there at 8:30pm for three hours."

"I can do that!" I cried.  "It's not that far.  Only about 45 minutes!"

"Okay." she said.

"Okay!" I said. 

Here's something you need to know...  My mom lives in CONNECTICUT.  She's was going to be in San Francisco for three hours.  It was about seven-ish when she called... or maybe toward the latter part of six.

I hauled the kids out of the bath, dried 'em, bundled 'em, and packed 'em into the car and away we went.  Oh, the traffic on a Sunday night!  Oh, the clock in the car that kept turning, mercilessly, ever onward toward 8:30 faster than I could get to the city!  Oh, my dumb car, that just happened to be on 'E' instead of 'F'!  Oh, that darn toll bridge that I don't have a FastTrak pass for!  Oh, my darn wallet that had no cash in it!  Oh, that ATM that belongs to my bank that is slightly out of the way from the freeway entrance!  Oh, that clock!  Oh, that I had left sooner!

But we finally got there and were able to spend a precious hour and a half with my mom.  In my car.  In the airport employee parking lot.  It was eerie and dark, but it was heavenly.  And oh, so precious.  Then away she was whisked, off to Connecticut and a million-ish miles away.  But oh, what an adventure we had!  Thanks, Mom.  Come see us again soon...  Maybe for longer than an hour and a half next time.  That would be nice.

P.S.  I happen to like rendezvous', and I also like to use the word in sentences.  Like in this old post, for instance.  Click for another rendezvous story...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lash-Attack: A Safety Proverb

Photo by David.  Taken on a family photo excursion around town.

So, the other day at church, some friends were complimenting me on having long eyelashes.  I have never really noticed that particular trait before and so I thought about their comments throughout the next couple of days... "Long lashes? Hmmm... I don't know. I always thought my brothers had long lashes... They're not really that long, are they?"

You know that sort of unimportant, vain babble that goes on in one's head (or maybe just in mine as that would not be entirely improbable) after receiving a compliment?  You may also recall that saying...  You know the one that goes, "pride goes before the fall?"  Ha!

Well, that same week, I was lighting the barbecue--safely, I might add--when lo, and behold, the fire jumped right out of the grill and landed on my head singe-ing my eyelashes on one eye and my hair on one side of my head!  Fun.  So now I have long lashes on the left and gimpy, short lashes on the right--aaaand, some nice textural interest on the right side of my head. Lovely. So, if you happen to see me around town, I'm not winking at you.  That's just me trying to hold up the weight of lashes on one side.

Have a great weekend! (Oh, and look out for those grills if you decide to barbecue.  They're feisty little suckers...)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tadpole Becomes Waterfrog.

Guess what?  Elliott had his first swim lessons! He is now an official graduate from the tadpole class!  Onward toward waterfrogs...

Elliott Graduating!
We've been meaning to get Elliott into swim lessons for the last couple of years, but haven't followed through until now.  I'm so proud of myself for finally getting over there and getting it done.  I've found the transition from "mom-of-infants-and-toddlers" to "mom-of-big-kids" a little discombobulating.  I feel lost.  What are they supposed to be involved in?  Where do you go to find out?  How much are these things anyway?  When are they?  Which one is the best one?  I'm one of those people who is a sucker for a good recommendation.  If you tell me its the best one, I'll believe you, and dadgum it, I'll buy it.  But I don't have anyone around to tell me these things.  And I really like to follow instructions.  Its difficult when I have to make it up myself. When are they gonna make a manual for child rearing anyway?

However, I got Elliott all signed up and everything and he took a two week course for swimming.  I would say it was more of an introduction to water than learning how to swim, which was absolutely perfect for him.  But that's when I realized that I had only taken the first little tiny baby step into this humongous river of finding out, figuring out, deciding, signing up, paying, driving, bringing, and watching that you do for these not-so-little-anymore kids.  Whew! We're just getting started...

Elliott had an absolute blast and can't wait to sign up for more swim lessons.  Mostly they learned simple things like floating on their backs while someone supports them, jumping into the pool with someone reaching out to them, kicking while being pulled, putting their mouths near the water to blow bubbles, and just generally being okay with being wet and in the water.

They pulled out the big guns on the last lesson.  They turned on all the cool water features, like the mushroom and the buckets.  Elliott has not stopped talking about it since.  It was totally worth it.  I don't know what I was so afraid of or how hard I thought it would be.  Once I put my mind to it, it was really rather simple...and enjoyable.

Don't be afraid!  What's that little thing in the back of your mind you've been meaning to do, but the unknown has left you motionless on?  You can do it...  If I can do it, anyone can! Procrastinators unite!

Photographs in this post taken by David... thanks, hun.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kids and Such

Elliott Escalante, Hazel Montgomery, Caiden Escalante, Jade Montgomery

Aren't kids funny?  That's pretty much all I have to say about that picture right there.  Yah.  See?  I tried.  Nothing came.  Oh, that's a little plastic wobbly head turtle that Hazel Rei is holding.  Caiden and Jade have food, of course.  And Elliott?  Well, he's probably wondering whether his clothes are dirty.  I'm serious.  He's really paranoid about it.  You know how people talk about the care-free days of their youth?  Those memories won't exist for Elliott.  He never has such a thing as a care-free day.  I love him to death, but that boy gets stressed, I'm telling ya.

Here is a fun little factoid for you.  All four of these kids have some Hispanic blood in their veins.  No kidding.  My kids are the extremely white boy and the little bit more tan girl in the pink flower dress.  The other two girls are my brothers.  My brother and I both married people who are about half some kind of Hispanic.  But look how non-Hispanic looking all of our kids turned out.  There's only one brown haired one out of the bunch!  Interesting.  My mom had very strong genes.  You should see the six of us kids line up together.  We're all pretty much identical... To each other and my mom.  Sorry, Dad, you only get one look-a-like.

I find this so very interesting.  I always thought it would be so amazing to be able to check some other box other than "Caucasian" on those survey thingies.  I would love to have a fascinating heritage to talk about.  My great-grandfather's last name was "Bruce"  and for so many years I clung to the fact (well, I'm not really sure its a fact) that I AM RELATED TO ROBERT THE BRUCE.  And I would actually tell people I had some royal Scottish blood (I no longer do that, nor do I condone those who do).  So when I found out that my husband was an interesting mix I hounded him about the race box.  "So what box do you check?" I wanted to know.  He always checks "Caucasian."  Oooo, I used to yell at him for that.  I so wish I could check another box and he actually can, but doesn't.  I've since learned to let it go.  You know, breathing is supposed to really help? 

Now my kids actually have some interesting heritage to trace back--to Spain and such--but nobody will ever ask them about it, because you can't even tell!  But maybe, just maybe, they'll want to check that other little box.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Dad: Super Cool Tractor Guy

How cool is my dad?  I'll let you decide after showing you what my dad does for a living.  This is another installment of my retelling of our adventures in Connecticut this June.  Enjoy.

My dad is super cool.  My dad fixes things for a living--you can't get much more optimistic than that.  That's not to say that both my dad and I are not grim, we are.  We're both the more serious and thoughtful sort that tend to notice the fact that there is liquid missing from the cup, you know, the glass half empty sort...  But I digress.  My dad fixes things, BIG things...

See that tiny man next to that gigantic tractor?  That's my dad.  Isn't he cool?  I think so.  For as long as I can remember, my dad has been a fixer.  He used to build houses, too.  But now he's just a mechanic.  He lends out his services to any number of his many children and their spouses.  I guess you could say he's a superhero of sorts.  There was only one little incidence where my dad's superpowers got away from him.  That was when he lent me his mechanics version of a "batmobile," that had been jimmy-rigged with special equipment in the trunk for fixing things and my kids stroller hit the special superhero switch and started a fire and made lots of smoke and I had to bail my kids' out on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.  But he was sorry and promised to keep better track of his powers from then on.

If you're starting to think that my dad is cool, you haven't seen nothin' yet.  You should see his forehead crinkles... They're amazing!  I used to lay in bed at night when he was tucking me in and beg him to show me his forehead crinkles and then I would cry because I didn't have any.  Anyhow, this is the shop where my dad works.  He has the late shift right now--3pm to 11pm, which is why I was able to get a tour and take some photos when nobody was around.

Look at this.  My dad likes to call it the "Pit of Despair" like from The Princess Bride.  This is where the oil guy works.  All the oil from the huge trucks gets emptied into that pit.  And a guy works down there... Cool, huh?

This is on the inside of my dad's toolbox... He's pretty clever, too, just like me.  Also, he's creative.  I don't have a picture of it, but that wooden box below is something he attached to his toolbox to make a nice little tray attachment thing that all the other guys at his work are jealous of since they paid like $700 for something similar.

As I said, my dad is more serious-minded, but that isn't to say that he doesn't have a sense of humor.  Quite the contrary.  My dad has many a thing that makes him chuckle in his own little way.  The above image is a prime example.  In my dad's mind, its satisfyingly humorous--in his own way.  Its hard to explain...

My dad also has an excellent memory.  He's sort of like an encyclopedia for unimportant facts about people.  You can watch any movie with him and he will have some interesting fact to tell you about at least one of the actors.  He definitely has a great imagination.  He used to tell me the best stories when I was little.  My kids love him.  He and Caiden were thick as thieves this trip.  It was really too cute.

He's so fun!  My dad just has this kind of mind that... so easily makes any situation fun or funny.  Like here on the slide... He's pretending that he's really scared and proceeds to throw his hands in the air and yell as they all slide down.  Who does that?  MY DAD!  I'm telling you:  he's really cool!

My dad has this basement that is every boy's dream--filled with toys and tools and all manner of curious things and...its a basement.  After I suggested that maybe Elliott should refrain from his daily/hourly trips down there because of his allergies, my dad proceeded to explain to me that I might as well castrate my son and prohibit him from being a boy.  "Every boy needs a basement." he told me.  Or a "man cave" as my step-mom puts it.

My dad just has such a full heart.  Boyish even.  He's so full of love.  And you know what?  My dad thinks I'm awesome.  Not just because he has to.  He really, actually, truly, literally thinks that I'm the best thing since sliced bread.  And you know, that just feels really good sometimes. 

That's my dad and his wife, Terrie.  Aren't they sweet?  We had such a fun time staying with them.  My dad says you can tell its going to be a great day when you wake up and Terrie has made coffee.  Otherwise:  "This is going to be a rotten day, I can just tell!"  Its funny--to my dad.  In his own way... Its hard to explain.

Gosh, there's so much more to tell about my dad, but... This will have to do for now.  I love you, Dad.  And I really, really miss you.  Come visit soon!