ojai during summer

We never get to enjoy Ojai during the summer. But this summer was different. My dad was in New York for over a week and my mom suggested a long weekend away in Ojai to keep her lonelies at bay. Yeah, she still cried, but she had much distraction making sure her grandkids didn’t drown.

No, in all seriousness, this is my happy place. We stay at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, and although this is only a little over an hour drive away, I can’t name a place I would rather be. Upon arrival my whole body just begins to relax. The grounds are truly incredible. The food amazing. The service special. We checked into our room to find freshly picked apples. That evening we came back from dinner to a plate of delicious truffle chocolates. The kids all received hats and stuffed animals. I am a bit of a spa snob since it’s what I do, and this place exceeds my expectations each time. Maybe it has something to do with me only making appointments with therapists that I know by name year after year, but it is superior to any other resort spas I have visited.

I have a lot of pictures. Surprise surprise. I will post them slowly as I go through them. Lots of pool shots and I won’t bore you with them all. The kids LIVED in the pool. This is how our days went. Breakfast pool lunch pool dinner pool. We are entering a new phase in parenthood, it’s called “we don’t have to be in the water the ENTIRE time all day long anymore” phase. The boys are great swimmers, totally safe. And Greta has finally agreed to wearing a life vest when we aren’t in the water with her. She can finally feel confident enough to swim around the pool on her own, getting from one side to the other. I think we are going to truly love this phase of vacations. It means less sunburns for Aaron, and more read time for me. Here’s just a few from our arrival.

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Is it just me, or is this boy getting more handsome each day?

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If you guys are readers of SouleMama, over in my blogroll you will notice the scary coincidence that she posted a picture this morning where she and her daughter are wearing the exact same matching pair of shoes that Greta and I are wearing in the picture below. Scary, since I took this picture over a week ago in Ojai, and then we ended up with same shot.

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Yes, the obligatory photo in the hotel mirror picture. And that’s what’s left of my curls. This was right after some time in the pool. The keratin is working. . .

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More to come as soon as I get my iMac back. We sent it in to get the burn drive repaired. I am kind of lost without her. But my laptop will do for now. Hopefully she’ll be back home by Friday night.

 

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Backyard Camping

A few weeks ago Aaron decided to camp with the kids in the backyard. We took the boys camping once when Sawyer was 1, Gunnar 3, so they don’t really remember it. In fact I think it was right around the time Greta was conceived. No, not ON the camping trip. Gross.

Anyways we are going camping with a few families in September and decided to do a trial run. Well, Aaron decided to do a trial run. I opted for my bed. And I half expected Greta to bail out, but no. At 9pm I went to say goodnight and asked Greta if she’d like to come to bed. I got a big fat appalled NO. The thought that she would leave the fun. They had a few extension cords running from the garage. I believe for the DVD player and for the sound machine. They stayed in that tent til at least 7pm. No air mattresses, just sleeping bags on the hard ground.

But of course the kids had a blast and cannot wait to do it again. My kids have a very good daddy.

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Even Foxy had his very own tent within the tent.

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Not quite sure what we’re going to do without a microwave to make microwave popcorn when we do the real deal.

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i’m a dude

alright, not literally. or physically. but often times in my marriage i realize i’m the dude.

i’ve been trying for several days to figure out how to word this so i don’t sound like i am bashing myself or aaron. and not sure how it’ll come across but here goes.

a few years back i came to this realization. now, i’m not saying i do what husbands are supposed to do. i don’t hang picture frames, i cannot unclog toilets, i can’t even pick up the sparkletts water bottle to put on the dispenser. however, aaron and i often tease and joke that we have our roles reversed. i guess i have a lot of the male characteristics that a husband usually possesses. and well, my burly, very strong, elevator mechanic husband, can sometimes be the wife. okay. i said it. don’t hate me babe.

for instance, i am not sensitive. this is good and bad at the same time. i can’t remember the last time my feelings were hurt. it rarely happens. and if it does happen i am usually ticked at myself for letting it happen. but on the other hand i am not super sensitive to others. i sometimes don’t really phathom the wide range of emotions others can have, along with the causes that incite these emotions.  i am  not really emotional, and watching movies like My Sister’s Keeper doesn’t count. i don’t cry because i don’t really get sad. of course i get sad. but it’s not because of anyone else. i don’t allow others to hurt me if that makes sense. of course if a dear friend were to say they hate me and i’m an awful person, that may hurt. but i still don’t think i’d cry. i’d probably be confused and then deal with it. when i do cry it’s because i’m infuriated. yes i am an angry crier. aaron, on the other hand, (this will not be a shock to most of you) does cry. no, he doesn’t stub his toe and tears stream down his face. but he is emotional. more emotional than me. and most sunday nights between the hours of 9pm and 11pm when TBS or TNT is replaying The Notebook, you will find my husband on the couch clutching his pillow with tears welling up in his eyes, as I sit on the other side of the couch with my book or laptop trying to figure out how this is the umpteenth time he has watched it and it still gets him. every. time. maybe it’s because i have as a sister the most emotional person on this planet. so i grew up seeing and hearing all about feelings, and emotions and watching these endless feelings pierce her very heart. every. day. so i’m just not emotional. i have emotions. don’t get me wrong. but i don’t think sensitive would ever be a characteristic someone uses to describe me. when we were younger, she was emotional enough for the both of us. it was just unnecessary that i duplicate it. and now, well, aaron can take on that role.

and i have been known during one of these emotional exchanges usually following an argument with aaron to ask him, “when you were younger did someone hurt you?” or “do you need me to hold you? want me to sing to you?” and then i begin one of the only songs i know all the words by heart. it’s from the little mermaid. look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? wouldn’t ya think my collection’s complete? at least then i get a laugh, and he can’t cry anymore with me making a fool of myself.

then there’s the jealousy. i am not jealous. and usually the woman in the relationship will be jealous. i’ve tried. doesn’t happen. and as much as i think being jealous can strain a marriage, guess what? so can not being jealous. it irritates aaron. i’m serious. i can’t tell you how many times i have heard, “can’t you be just a little jealous!?” and i have tried, but aaron sees through my weak attempts. i try to tell him he should be happy about it. to illustrate the level of his frustration let me tell you what he did once last year. no doubt you will laugh. we were home and aaron was on the computer. his phone made some noise, apparently it’s the noise you get when you receive a text message. he called for me to go get his phone for him and read the text so he didn’t have to get up. now, i have no clue how to work his phone. i never use it. it’s some nextel contraption that resembles the phone zack morris in saved by the bell used. but whatever, i’ll give it a try. so i open his phone and push the read text button. and this is what the text read, “hey you. you looked great today, had a lot of fun and cannot wait to see you again tomorrow.” underneath the text it had a “sent from” label which read, ‘Aaron’s Computer’. yes people, in desperate attempts to get a jealous rage out of me, he sent himself a text message from the computer! Yes. He. Did.

one more thing that kind of makes me a dude. i think. i’m not really a dude, so i will never know for sure. i am completely comfortable talking about my death. aaron and i discuss what we think we would do if something ever happens to the other. i think this is a natural discussion now that we have 3 little people we have to concern ourselves with. here may be the strange part for all of you. i often tell him that he cannot be alone, and that he should remarry if something ever does happen to me. (which by the way, i am convinced of, i just have this very weird, die young of something very terminal thing in my head) i want my kids to have a mom. and while he picked me, i think he may screw up the second time around, so i try to have some input now while i am alive than when i can’t talk and am 6 feet underground. he isn’t thrilled with these conversations. but i try and point out qualities that i really think his next wife should have. okay. there. i said it. i know it may be strange. and although we have these talks about the what ifs if i die, we never really discuss me. i don’t think i need a partner. i kind of need a workhorse. someone to do a lot of work. but i don’t mind being alone. i think me and the kids would survive just fine. and well, the thought of some other man disciplining my kids, not too fly with that one.

so before you all think of me as a cold, heartless, non-feeling person, let me defend myself. just because i don’t easily get hurt, i still love. immensely. and true, the love doesn’t come with the jealous button, or the sensitive one, or the crying one, but it doesn’t mean i love any less.

dudes can love too.

meet diana

This is Diana. She’s awesome. I love her. She’s light and cute. I can hang her from my neck. And she has the best pinhole setting. She’s Holga’s sister. She too, is cheap. At first. But I quickly foresee a Holga/Diana category on my Quicken budget. Have I mentioned that I love her? I do.

I took her to the beach one day, my second time using her. And here’s what I got. in love.

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60 months

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Today I am no longer the parent of a 4 year old. My Sawyer, you turn five today. I honestly cannot believe that you are about to enter kindergarten. I say this each year, but each year it holds more and more truth to it. You amaze me. every. single. day. And yet some things are still the same and I savor it being the same from the previous year. Such things as you still pronounce chocolate, “chot-lick”. Your laugh is still infectious. No one can hear you giggle your deep throated giggle without at least a smile, let alone a chuckle.

You got glasses again this year and are doing fantastic with them. Nothing can slow you down. Not glasses. Nothing. You have been reading for so long that I look at your sister Greta in amazement that you were reading at her age. You can’t wait to join your brother at his school. You are so ready to take it on.

You are a middle child. But not in one thing are you a middle of the road kind of kid. You love the edges, you love the walls, the heights, you love the back side, the opposite, the life of everything.

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I decided to list my most 5 favorite things about you at this moment, since of course, you’re five.

1. You are so tender and caring, whenever daddy or I are sick you insist on writing us “get well” cards. In fact, at your five year checkup last week you had to get a few shots and you were so sad when you got home because there were no “get well” or “i’m sorry” cards waiting for you. That had to be quickly remedied. A doctor’s visit with no cards!?

2. You love to be with your brother and sister. Recently you spent the night with Nanni alone, and you told her how sad you were because you didn’t have them with you. Who would you play with? It’s just not as fun.

3. Your favorite thing to create right now involves scotch tape and paper, sometimes foil. You just love to sit and create things, it could be a ball that sticks to the wall when you throw it, or a 3-D card where something pops up when you open it. Your creativity surprises and inspires me every day.

4. You are not stingy with your love. You never hold back from telling me that you love me. You never hold back kisses or hugs or love.

5. You just asked your daddy if he’ll still call you “little guy” when you are five. He said yes. And you were very relieved.

I love you more each day because I love exploring the world with you by my side. Nothing is the same when I am not with you. I don’t feel as much or see the colors the same. I don’t hear the sounds that you hear unless I’m with you. No one’s kisses are as pure or true than the ones you give me. And I hope you know that each ‘I love you’, each hug, each kiss I give you in return pales in comparison to what is in my heart.

You will always be the son who made me into the mom I am today. You are the boy that makes me feel like a mama. Maybe it’s how you say my name. Maybe it’s because I was really young when I became a mom for the first time with your brother. And I truly didn’t feel like a mother until I had both of you. But you have given me the inspiration and the motivation to be the mama that you need. Which just so happens to be the mama that I want to be for you. How perfect it is.

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through soso’s eyes

I never know what I will find when I load the boys’ camera memory sticks onto the computer. This time it was Soso’s I decided to load. Here’s what I found, Lola and my eyeball. I know, kinda gross.

We are heading up to Ojai tomorrow for a few days of relaxation, fun and a whole lot of swimming. It will be hot, no doubt, so I will look forward to my children returning to their amphibian forms for a few days. See you back next week.

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