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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Cleaning

Last weekend was the most productive and organized weekend I can remember in my family's history. It was preceded by the most unproductive and disordered two weeks I can remember in my family's history. About 2 weeks ago, on a Friday, they gave us warning that on Monday (and over the course of the entire week) they would begin work on our patio privacy walls, and that we needed to remove every single item not only from our storage shed, but also from our entire patio. Oh and Guinness? Locked inside each day while work is being done. Great. Good thing we didn't have any plans that weekend (like a birthday party,a kid's Easter egg hunt, and packing for our Santa Cruz Trip) otherwise I would have been really stressed about getting all of it done!

Meanwhile, I have still been nursing my leg injury (remember the groin injury which led to a shin splint that caused knee pain...), which has caused me to be completely useless after work, since my leg starts hurting from being on it all day long by then and I pretty much need to stay off of it in the evening besides essentials (like bathing the kids - bathing myself has been sidelined.) On top of all of it, we returned from Santa Cruz to find that they STILL were not done and needed last week to do finishing work.

So needless to say after two weeks of having our patio and shed contents strewn about the house in mayhem and me not really being able to do a damn thing about any of it, I was about to lose my mind. Then, the light at the end of the tunnel. (Literally since they opened up all the windows that were boarded up during work on the patio).

I went to my chiropractor on Wednesday, and he adjusted my leg, which was the kicker to my healing. On Friday, they finished up finish work on the privacy wall. We had a rare weekend that was mostly clear. I decided to cancel swim classes for the quarter (very sad about this but we just didn't have room in our schedule and it was going to stretch us too thin), so besides a family photo shoot with Pam (who has shot both girls' 1st Birthday Parties) on Saturday afternoon we were free to put our lives back together.

I took the girls to visit with my mom for a while on Saturday morning, which left Ryan free to organize and put everything back in the shed and patio and put together the girls new toy storage rack. We came back and got ready for our photo shoot. Sunday Ryan drove up to Ramona to borrow the shop of some guy off of craigslist to put spacers on the jeep to give us a temporary mini-lift. While he was gone, I shifted into full on mommy multi-tasking and efficiency mode (don't you wish all appliances and husbands had that mode?) and blasted through the house like a tornado. I moved the plants in the patio back into place, reorganized the storage closet, did the laundry, cleaned out the girl's closet, redistributed our sports clothes/gear into better and more accessible areas, and prepped the front yard by collecting all the dingly-balls that come from the Gum Trees planted out there. And might I add that I accomplished this all without the use of TV or other electronic child attention capturing devises, and by noon to boot. Yeah, I'm tooting my own horn. Suck it. I rocked that day.

Ryan came home and the awesome day of spring cleaning continued. I put him and Abby down for naps, and took Rory with me to Lowe's to get soil, grass seed and some other gardening odds and ends. We came back, and finished work on the front yard, and moved to the back yard for some bush pruning and jasmine training up onto the patio cover. After the sun went down we went through all of their toys, decided which ones to keep and which ones to get rid of and organized them into the new toy storage rack.

We decided that we deserved a special treat so we rented Skyfall, set the girls up with a kid movie in the game room, and set ourselves up with big bowls of ice cream for ours. Abby fell asleep during theirs, and Rory and us went to bed far past our bedtimes but it felt so darn good to accomplish so much and have such a nice treat at the end of it all it was well worth it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Garden of Eden

Every time we visit my Godfather Charly and his partner Tracy in their beautiful beach house in Santa Cruz, I feel like I'm visiting a modern day Garden of Eden. The world stands still for those days, and I leave with the sense that I have just been at an incredibly natural and holistic retreat. The sense of community, health, well being, family and just pure enjoyment and celebration of life washes over me like sunshine. The community of Santa Cruz is very progressive marked by social activism, is at the center of the organic agriculture movement, and it's citizens enjoy a wide range of local recreation (surfing, biking, hiking). To me its the perfect community, incorporating all the ways I want to live and all the things I love. I honestly would LOVE to live there... if we had any job prospects, were able to stomach the cost of living (seeing as how its one of the FEW places that's more expensive than San Diego), would not have to leave all of our friends and family behind... well anyway, we immensely enjoy visiting Santa Cruz when we can. Charly and Tracy expose us to the latest and greatest in all things healthy for the mind, body and spirit, and spoil us silly.

We gave up our long Easter weekend in San Diego and took an extra day to spend two days on the road and two days visiting. Here were the highlights:

  • We can safely say that Abby is out of the "I-wont-spend-more-than-2-hours-in-the-car-unless-I'm-sleeping" phase. Thank God. The girls did great on the drive up and down, thanks to the entire series collection of He-man.
  • It was great to see my Godmother Mary (who also lives in Santa Cruz) who has lost 100 lbs due to going off of prednisone and gone through the ringer with serious cancer since the last time we saw her. She looks fantastic and has a new lease on life. She went a little crazy on the girls Easter baskets (it is pretty hard to exercise restraint) and we now are in possession of a year's supply of candy for a family of 20.
  • In making my famous fish tacos for dinner one night in a gluten free household, I discovered a tweak to my recipe that will make a crispier batter. I will from here on out be using part flour and part corn starch. I was also happy to pass on a gluten free pancake recipe, which has been my new favorite easy breakfast for the girls. 1 banana + 2 eggs blended. (Not a trick, although it seems like it would be). Naturally sweet and great with peanut butter. I also have an appreciation for wheat bread. Gluten free bread crumbles as if it was made of sand.
  • We got to have a craft day of making stepping stones for each of us. Mary helped Rory with a butterfly design, I did a heart, not really sure what Abby's is and Ryan's is a geometric white and blue concoction. Now where to put them?
  • I had discovered that my childhood friend Rose lived in Santa Cruz with her son Julian and they came to visit while we were there. It was great to see her again after at least 10 years. Even if we all had trouble placing her in which of my mom's Campo friends groups she was from and remembering who her mother was. (Barbara, not Hopie, for the record.) My mom set the record straight before Rose began to question her maternity.
  • Abby had a few really rough nights of teething that even though acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and orajel couldn't help. They numbed the pain but only cuddles with mom and dad in bed with the pacifier sealed the deal.
  • I remembered I REALLY don't like Ryan driving. With my messed up knee (which got messed up from a shin splint which was the result of a pulled groin muscle) I drove very little on the trip. This wont be happening again anytime soon. He takes driving too seriously, and stresses me out with all of the jobs and exceptions of the "co-pilot" so that he can focus 100% of his attention on driving safely.
  • We stopped in Huntington Beach on the way home to wait out some traffic hoping to visit my Aunt Tina, but they were not home so we went to the REI there which we have always wanted to check out, and sat down for dinner. (This we will not be doing again anytime soon either. Kids are just too much work at a restaurant). But I happened to find an awesome solution to my purse which I have hated for a very long time. Its an REI Agility Sling Bag, and I'm calling it my murse. I have a lot of stuff to carry in my purse, and it was just too heavy. I was having shoulder problems, and neck aches. And besides the physical abuse, it wouldn't stay put with me bending down for toddlers all day long. It would either stay put and everything would dump out as it turned sideways, or it would fall right off my shoulder. It wasn't "hands free" since I was always having to use my arm/hand to hold it in place! Well I'm so happy with my solution. I don't care how dorky I look.