Friday, August 21, 2009

Not Going Through the Motions

As I get a little older, the little things touch me deeper. Nice gestures mean more, the cute things my kids do bring a big smile, I feel tingles when a song I am listening to touches me, and small things that remind me of special people in my life that I have lost bring tears to my eyes in an instant.

My oldest is 11 and she is now a big middle schooler. She sings like an angel and joined the choir this year. It is four weeks into our school year and they had their first recital last night at our Barnes & Noble book store. There was about 80 kids and about the same number adults crammed into the back of the store. I got my friend to watch the toddlers so I didn't have to wrestle with them while trying to watch the choir. My husband Steve was trying to fight traffic to get their on time. I brought the camcorder and texted him with my exact location in the crowd, which fortunately was the side Adrienne was on, and got the camera ready. I was trying to let Steve know it was okay if he didn't make it because I was video taping it. He said "I will be there. I am not going to miss it!" 30 seconds before they started singing I see him wiggling through the crowd headed my way. I was so happy he made it. He whistled his distict way, Adrienne looked up and smiled, then they started singing.

They sounded beautiful. I held the video camera above the crowd and taped, zoomed in on Adrienne. I didn't bring my still camera or I would post a picture. Steve and I traded off because our arms kept tiring. The woman in front of us had her cell phone flipped open, allowing the person on the other end to hear the singing. I had to fight the tears pretty hard when I saw that. I don't know why it made me that emotional, but it must have been a daddy who was still at work, or couldn't quite make it through the traffic we are cursed with out here in the East Bay.

They sang 15 songs. It was so full of energy and harmonious. Amazing for 4 weeks of school! The teacher looked like he was conducting an orchestra and sang along with the kids. He was so much fun to watch. These music programs are all in danger at our schools... what a loss it would be for the kids to not have an outlet like this. It was a great 15 minutes and then back to our regularly scheduled life that I am so grateful for.

My husband drives a lot for work and is constantly struggling with traffic. He called this morning and said he was experiencing really heavy traffic and assumed there must be an accident ahead, we talked for a few and then hung up. He called about 1/2 hour later to say he had just seen a deceased woman as the result of the traffic accident. She was covered with a blanket, but her arm was not and he saw she was wearing several pieces of jewelry. It was 7:22 a.m. and surely she was on her way to work, like she probably did every other morning at that time.

Right after this I go to see why my sweet little old neighbor's dog was barking so much. He is a widow and has lived alone in the house he shared with his wife for a few years. I look out the window and see a fire truck and ambulance parked out front. About 10 minutes later, out he comes on a stretcher. I don't know what happened, but fortunately another family member had already arrived.

So, I feel especially emotional today, with the primary feeling being gratitude. I am grateful for my health and my family and respectful of how delicate life is. I am humbled by my neighbor, and know that how my life is now will change greatly over the years. Have a great day, and I am off to put capes on my toddllers and play superheroes for a while!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Discovery Kingdom

My toddlers and I went with my mom, her friend and her daughter to Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA on Friday. It was sooo much fun. I am always a little nervous when I venture out with the two little ones because a meltdown is always lurking around the corner and I hate to be far from home when it happens!

Discovery Kingdom is a theme park that started out as Marine World, then Six Flags and now it is DK. I love it because it has all the rides for adults and kids, plus it has several animal shows and attractions scheduled throughout the day. We went to the Sea Lion show which had a pirate theme, a dolphin show that was beautiful and a Tiger show that we didn't make it through, but was great while it lasted. Here are some pics from the day. Lily loved, loved, loved the characters in costume. There were about 20 of them walking around all day and every time we saw one she had to go visit. People were trying to take pictures of their kids hugging these characters and Lily would run in and try to get a hug too. They had a great water feature in the center of a huge kid play area. We brought the suits with us, found a corner and did a quick change. After the water everyone was pretty tired. Stevie entertained us with some of his dinosaur break dance moves and then Lily fell asleep. The forecast said it was going to be 77 degrees which sounded almost cold to me, but it had to have been over 90. I got burned and it was hot but we had a great time. Thanks mom!