30 September 2011

Snake!!!

We were hangin' at our favorite regional park--the one we visit a few times a month--and ran into this!  Considering the kind of adventures in which I allow the boys to engage, I'm surprised we haven't been more seriously injured.  I suppose I should just be happy that this tiny snake is nothing compared to the giant rattler we ran into this past summer in the desert!

29 September 2011

I'm overwhelmed

There's too much going on.  I'm spreading myself out too thin and feeling the effects of my poor decision-making (and inability to say no).  I need to slow it down.  By a lot.

Following are two quick, unrelated photos of A2 doing the, "Mama, Mama take a picture," thing.  I don't know why he asks for a photograph and then proceeds to make a face!

26 September 2011

Box painting

It's late and I have nothing to say (i.e., nothing to complain about!) so I'm just going to let these photos speak for themselves.







24 September 2011

This is my life

Suddenly, I look up and 3 days have passed since I last blogged.  It's an ordinary interval in and of itself, but given the fact that I promised myself that I would post daily during the month of September, I can't believe so much time elapsed without my knowledge!

But this is my life.  Below is a photograph I snapped via iPhone, stamped at 1:30 in the afternoon.  It was well into the afternoon before I realized that I'd been traipsing around town wearing 2 different shoes!  I'd like to think that I've sacrificed my focus on fashion to concentrate on the more important matters in life, but I suspect it's merely because I've been running on fumes and barely conscious these past few days (read: years).

I just left our first pack meeting last night with what will eventually be A1's Cub Scout den.  Of course, I will be Tiger Den leader.  Of course, I'm thrilled beyond belief for the coming adventure.  And of course, I've bitten off more than I can chew.  This. Is. My. Life.

21 September 2011

Choice and responsibility

I don't push the boys into specific activities.  They have to be completely self-motivated and show a great deal of interest before I sign them up for anything.  That's because once they are signed up, they are committed to a certain period of time and a certain level of effort.  Take ice skating, for example.  We will have been skating for a full calendar year this coming November.  I've told the boys that at that point, they've earned the choice to quit or continue.  (They'll likely continue.)

Poor A1 has been begging to take piano lessons since before he started Kindergarten last year.  But I kept postponing them because I know that once we start lessons, I'm going to Tiger Mom him into a regimen of daily practice.  Well, as luck would have it, I've entered upon a lovely bartering agreement with a friend: holiday family photos for a series of 7 piano lessons.  Yay!  Now A1 only has to commit to about 2 months to earn the right to quit or continue and I only have to nag him about practicing for a short period of time.  Or maybe I'm just projecting my own experiences.  As anyone who's read the manual for raising little Asian girls in America can tell you, piano lessons are an absolute requirement!  I didn't love it so I may be superimposing my own distaste and it might just be that A1 will absolutely love piano practice.  Poor kid repeatedly plays the same 3 songs I taught him eons ago--it might work out for us both that the nagging will not be so necessary!

Totally unrelated pics of the boys at the pumpkin patch.  Yes, these pics look familiar because we go to this patch every single year!

Here they are drunk on cotton candy:

We did a few cutout shots until they got fed up with the process--I let them climb a tree and all was well again.

For the past year or two, A1 has missed out on the tractor-pulled hayride so I made sure to grab a shot of him experiencing it this year.

We've been trying hard to save activities until after 3 so that he can attend--like this day at Pretend City (the pose was his idea, not mine!). 

It's partly for A1 and it's partly A2 who misses his big brother so much that he has to say goodbye a millions times before he's able to part in peace.

It takes the promise of a trip to the zoo with both parents to pull him away sometimes!

19 September 2011

Goathill Junction Railroad

The non-profit OC Model Engineers, Inc. offers free 12 minute rides on a 7 1/2" gauge railroad that covers two loops of the park on the back end of the Costa Mesa Golf Course.  The key word in that sentence: FREE.  So, of course, we were there!

We have these pics (jeez, that is the most tired James and I have looked in a photo in a long time!) because I handed over my camera to one of the lovely volunteers who snapped a bunch of shots of/for us.  I love handing over my camera and, as often as I can, offer to take photos of people using their cameras.  I nearly never get folks to agree and not only get refusals, they are accompanied by sneers.  These people look at me as if I have two heads.  I mean, I usually don't offer unless I'm carrying my own camera so they can see that I'm not looking to steal their camera or have no idea who to handle an SLR.  And I'm usually snapping pics of my own kids so they can see I'm not some pedophile who hunts at the playground for my newest victim.

In fact, just a few days we visited the pumpkin patch (photos to follow very soon).  I asked a mom who was standing in front of a cutout with 3 openings if she wanted to be in the pic with her husband and child.  She laughed, "It would be a MIRACLE if we were all in the same photo."  Uh...no, it would not take a miracle.  It would take you handing over your camera and 2 seconds of your time.

So what am I missing out on here?  Do I live in a small, closely knit rural community in my head but the city dwellers think I'm a crazy stranger who's violating their space?  I'm trying to do a nice thing here--something that I myself enjoy on those rare occasions when someone offers to take a pic of us as a family.

Wow...I'd better present these photos soon or else the complaining won't stop!

18 September 2011

Spring Break: Petrified Forest National Park

How we love the scenery here with the vibrant colors of the Painted Desert as the backdrop!

Here they are enjoying the Blue Mesa Trail

...and viewing the petroglyphs.

And somehow the boys manage to find a tiny pile of rocks more interesting!

All the vastness and natural wonder and they'd rather play Star Wars!

At least they got to engaged in their favorite activity: climbing!

17 September 2011

Newport Beach

Somehow we ended up at the beach today even though it wasn't in our plans.  I wasn't going to blog these images because I'd already posted today and didn't want to run out of material but then I remembered that I snap pics of the boys and have a new whiny complaint about something or other (it's starting to seem like this blog is where I go to furrow my brow and pout!) just about every single day.  So I'll never run out of things to post!






Startled into change

I've been a parent for six and a half years now and I've never heard the dreaded proclamation, "I'm bored!"  Well...not until yesterday.

James and I were in the van when A2 demanded my phone because he was bored.  Bored!  Are you kidding me?!?  I've ruined him!  A2 and I have been helping in A1's classroom a lot and I've been sitting with A1 to do homework so I've allowed A2 to occupy himself with the iPad and iPhone.  And now, he has become reliant upon external stimuli, unable to generate his own spontaneous thoughts and he's lost his ability to self-entertain.  His joy can only be derived through electronics.  I mean, A1 can use electronics and not have it affect him in this matter, but A2 seems so...addicted.

It's terrifying. 

So we're done--at least, for a while anyways.  I told him that he will not put his hands on any devices for the rest of the month.  Hopefully that will break the spell they have over him!  And I'll have to be a good example, which means no WWF while he's in sight.  **shudder**

So here are photos of the boys at the Columbia Memorial Space Center.  Notice (1) There are are mobile electronics in sight and they are still having a blast and (2) I've clearly discovered a new, beloved Lightroom preset that does vintage 70s-like processing.  My deepest apologies for the latter.