Tuesday, July 21, 2015


For most of the school year, I have been running twice a week with my friend Sarah. It has been such a great time to exercise and get to be friends with Sarah, and to feel like a "runner" for the first time in my life. Or at least a "jogger". The very idea of running a few miles doesn't strike fear into my heart, which is a big deal. The big girls would be at school and Annea would be in the stroller, happily being strolled around and around the Redwood Loop. Until she decided she had enough and freaked out at the mention of the woods. Enter the iPad, with a few kid's movies on it. That worked for months. Until it didn't work, and then... I promised her bike riding time after I ran. She fits the little balance bike we had for Eliana. So far she has not learned to glide, or even to sit her butt down on the seat, so it's a lot of walking her bike around while wearing a helmet. But there's hope, and we're going to keep working on it.

Ready to go!

Snuggling with her bike. She loves carrying it, dragging it around, and sitting on it. The gliding hasn't happened so much, but it will come!

As for the big girls...we did some disservices to our girls in the bike riding department. I feel really good about some of my parenting skills. Like potty training. I feel like if you gave me a kid between 2-4 years old, I could potty train him/her in a weekend. I got that one. Bike riding, however, I would happily have outsourced. We didn't get a strider bike (balance bike) for Adessa, but did for Eliana, so when we went to teach them, Eliana got it much faster than Adessa. She already had the balance thing down. So Adessa (understandably!) got more and more frustrated as she watched Eliana zooming by her. It was difficult to try to encourage Eliana (She's riding a bike!! Hooray!!) while not totally demoralizing Adessa. Difficult. We learned to divide and conquer, and Adessa is getting it after a few sessions with Daddy.

The future bike gang.

During Annea's eight minutes of biking. Now I bring the stroller for Annea and jog along with Eliana while Calvin works with Adessa.

Eliana going for it.
Daddy helping Adessa get started.
Adessa riding! Daddy keeping his post right by her side.

Eliana, again. She is a funny rider, which I guess they all must be at the beginning. She puts her feet down to brake, she goes wherever she is looking (followed a lizard right off the road), and tries to turn too tight. This ride she had her first spills, which gave her the idea of how to fall off.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Church Camp 2015

It is with great pride and a week-long, camp induced euphoria, that this next post is written. Seven moms from church got together months ago to create an Orthodox VBS kind of camp for our kids. We wanted them to build Orthodox identity, to get to know the other kids better, and for us moms to bond and build community. And it worked! From the first day, all of our hopes were realized, and things just got better and better as the week went on. The kids got the theme, Tending the Garden of Your Heart. They had fun with the crafts and songs and games. They sat through our puppet shows! We worked hard and were all (kids and moms) exhausted, but so elated and blessed and thankful. It felt like a rebirth, a big flipping deal, a new frontier. Yayyyyyy!!

Monday at the Machnee's. Listening to our camp book, the basis of the theme: The Hidden Garden, A Story of the Heart, by Jane Meyer.

Adventurous hike!

Tuesday was at the Newberry's beautiful Bonny Doon property.
Lavender gorgeousness. The kids "got" how cool a beautiful, established garden is!

Practicing using her five senses, Annea sniffs the flowers.


Annea in the flowers.

Annea went off on a hike with the big kids and Karla! As we were getting in the car, she asked Karla if she could come to her house again, without Mommy. :)

Wednesday at the Beck's:

Adessa (and Jayden!) developed their Limbo skills.

Craft time! The kids did great, up-cycling all kinds of stuff to make lovely flowers.

Getting ready for the puppet show!

Thursday started at the church, then ended at Uncle Ben's Farm.
Learning about the Fruits of the Spirit!

Picking berries at the farm, bearing good fruit.

Weeding Uncle Ben's farm: practice tending the garden, pulling the little weeds before they get too big, and using a friend (or two's) help to pull the big weeds.

Busy pulling weeds. The kids surprised us all and loved pulling weeds-- tugging them out, piling them up, seeing the difference their work made.

Eliana giving the weeds what-for!

Playing the "Weed or Flower" game in their awesome camp shirts.

Friday finale face paint!

Camp Photo Op! All the kids wore their t-shirt for the picture, except Annea, who had to be convinced to even be in the picture. Oh well!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Oh Frabcious Day, my girls made huge progress swimming this summer! We were able to do three weeks of Mt. Hermon swim lessons, which provides the familiar and comforting chaotic morning scramble of getting down to the pool, remembering all the right gear, doing the dreaded sunscreen smear, snacks snacks snacks, and, of course, swimming lessons. Which has all paid off, dearly beloved, because after years of gritting my teeth and telling myself "It'll click, it'll click: they will swim when they are ready." Eliana is ready! The heavens parted and angels sang as she lifted her feet of the bottom of the pool and first floated, then glided, then paddled and kicked. She's swimming!! Still very hesitantly and for short spurts, but the girl is swimming. Yay!!!! I can stop trying to convince myself, for Eliana anyway, that she'll swim when she's ready. She is ready.

For Adessa, I hesitate to put this on the record books, but I put her in the *wrong class. The whole first two week session, she was in Level 2, doing really easy stuff. I just thought it was a different teacher, and all I firmly remembered was her not passing last year. But it was Level 3 she didn't pass, not Level 2. So, during the week between lesson sessions, we went to the pool in the afternoons to practice. I talked to Adessa as we walked to the pool about side breathing, how to do it, how to keep your chin down and look at the bottom of the pool, etc... all worth mentioning because... she did it! And asked for more help. And listened to the help. And applied my advice! And was coachable! It was exciting times, people! She normally needs to see skills explained a bunch and modeled and be asked to do things and not do them for a frustratingly long time, and then when no one else (me?) is looking or bothering her, she will try the skills out on her own and figure it out. But this time it was direct coaching, which she took. A giant step for Adessa-kind. And Keidi-kind.

*My mom would have immediately seen she belonged in a higher class and moved her, when she was in charge of the pool. Lots of parts of swimming lessons and being at the pool makes me think of my mom. And miss her. I'm trying to think of and explain why the pool is so closely connected with my mom, and I think it's because we really did pretty much only the pool every summer of my childhood. Summer was the pool. And the pool experience was my mom.

Annea didn't want to be in a class with a teacher, so we did Mommy and Me. Again. (It'll click! It'll click!) Eliana was in a class at three because I had Annea in the Ergo as a tiny baby when Eliana was three. But Annea gets to have me, and we had lots of fun, and she did pretty well. She has her own ideas about what she will or won't do in the water, as all my girls did, but left to her own devices, with enough opportunity and routine, she started: blowing bubbles, putting her face in, floating on her back (to make mermaid hair), and doing Chop-Chop Timbers, sometimes with her face in. She lets me "shoot her" to the stairs, which is floating and gliding, so I have hope she'll be swimming, too, before long.

She's ready!

Auntie Lolo came to swim with Annea and watch the big girls' lessons.

Hazards of deck chairs.

Listening to the safety talk.

Now you see her...
... now you don't!
Adessa swimming.
Adessa's thank you card to her teacher.

Hiking home. This was the first year we walked down to the pool (and thereby, back up the mountain on the way home) almost every day. The girls are getting capable, they carry more, there is less gear, we can do more-- I see the light at the end of the baby tunnel!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Adessa's Birthday

Adesssa, also, had a birthday. And in a fluke of some kind of reverse birth order favoritism, I almost didn't get the darn thing done. The first two I was into, excited about. By Adessa's tea party I was a bit party-burnt. Three birthday parties, which I tried to separate as much as possible (4/26 for a 4/29 birthday, 5/9 for a 5/5 birthday, and 6/20, for a 6/12 birthday) in the span of two months. Too much birthday. But we do celebrate Adessa and her eight years of making us parents and brightening our lives! Next year, hopefully without a party. For any of them! (Just kidding, sort of).

Eight! NOTE TO SELF: Don't do another 2-bundt squashed together eight cake. Too much. Or if you do, self, get started on the squiggles right away, DO NOT attempt to smooth out the frosting.