Sunday, July 25, 2010

there have been some changes lately...

Did I mention that we bought a house?  No, really?  Hunh, how strange, I thought had...oh yeah, I did just mention it in passing in that last post/rant, but now I'm announcing it:

WE, or rather, I should say, My Man, done bought us a house in the suburbs y'all, and it is the loveliest thing I have ever participated in.  And that lovely comes from what is pictured below, a pool.  And a tree.  And not just any old tree now, but a Tree, capital T Tree.  Big beautiful old and shady Live Oak Tree.  The kind with a mountain of roots at the feet and a canopy large enough to keep our entire back yard in the shadiest of shade all throughout the long hot humid north Florida afternoons and shady enough to keep us all from getting roasted on a regular basis and shady enough to keep the water a refreshing mid-80 degrees.  Oh sweet mystery of life, I have found you, again!  And did I mention that our neighbor to the east has a very similar tree, in his yard, that keeps the morning sun from scorching said cool refreshing pool and backyard until ours can take over in the afternoon?  and that there are trees all along our back fence also?  Ohhh delightful trees and shade.  So so sooooo appreciated by me, my little guys, and every person who has experienced it so far. 

Now, along with that wonderful backyard of heaven, comes a few other lovely things: 

my 1962 pale pink GE oven, and our delightfully delicious custom green walls, a la Senorita Flaire and her exquisite sense of color.

Augusutus' Blue Galaxy walls, on which will hang his moon that lights up with all the phases that we love

Magdalena's luscious pink room, just a passage

formerly a window onto the porch, but now a wonderful "pass through" (view of the kitchen from the rumpus room, and further back, the laundry room/pantry) from the kitchen into what has been dubbed the "rumpus room" that holds all things arty, crafty, dress-up-y, homeschool-y, ya know, basically a room where our children can actually spread out and play and create and be and absorb. 

Front door of said house, immediately after closing, with the blissful me and the OMG-really-what-did-I-just-do? Ethan, ready to open the door of our home for the first time.

And above, directly after entering said casa, after having our very first swim with friends.

Before we moved in, we had what I thought was one week to paint.  And pack.  No problem, right?  Uh, well, no actually, major problem.  I have issues with time management, it could be said, but nothing like the hurdles I have to leap when it comes to time perception, as in, how long I think something will take me to get done and then the actual reality of how long it takes something to get done.  And by something, for now, I mean paint every square inch of walls, ceilings, baseboards and doors of our new-to-us but really much too neutral colored house. 
With an army of help from family, friends, painters, bearers of food, and basically everyone I know who is available to help, I am still not finished, and I do not jest.  Sigh.  Hence the photo below of three sweet sleeping children.  After having enlisted everybone's help for a solid week and not being near done, I said baby, (to my man), I've got to spend the night.  If I have to leave every day and feed you and the children, and then wake up and get it all together to come back, I'm missing hours of valuable stay-up-late-and-paint time, and wake-up-and-work time, so I'm staying.  And where I go, goeth my children, and of course at times Frida because who wants to miss the fun?  So just let me say that I constructed a seriously comfy palette for us to sleep on.  Three pool rafts, blown up and duck taped shut (the valves kept popping open, who needs that?), layered with 7-8 quilts, a thick and fluffy comforter, topped with a super thick pillow top mattress pad to hold the entire shebang together, soft as an old t-shirt jersey sheets and let me tell you, you got one seriously comfy bed.  Exhibit A:

We celebrated Independence Day in true grand style, outfitted by Aunt Su-su and Tito Chuchi with red-white-and-blue tie-dyes for the children and patriotic tattoos for all. 

And Frida caught a wave, WOW!

And Tito Chuch, a fish (he went back, of course, just wanted to document...)

And now, (drum roll) may I present my newly minted seven year old daughter, Magdalena!  She wanted to start her day at her favorite breakfast joint, Famous Amos, and how could I deny her that?  Who can resist fried tomatoes and grits?  Not me anyway.  We partied like it was 1999 I tell ya.  First breakfast out.  Then an afternoon family pool party.  Tita called me a little after 11am, saying I'm on my way, thinking maybe she was late because the party was supposed to start at noon to which I answered don't worry, we're not even home for heaven's sake! 

Here Magdalena is practicing her eye roll.  I know, it seems obnoxious, and one day I know it really will be, but for now it is still relatively cute because she doesn't really have it down (not realizing, of course, that she has been doing it naturally for years) and every time she tries it is sooo obvious and she can't help smiling a bit at the end, like, I did it! and I always say- I saw that eye roll, which makes her break out into a huge grin because I noticed it. 

And here Augustus is doing my favorite new face that he makes, it's insanely adorable and he just started doing it, out of the blue one day, totally a made up face because when I say "do the face", he totally does it.
And did I mention the scarf?  Normally he likes to wear it as a fluffy bow tie with either his bright orange or green shirt because the orange of the tulips is picked up by the orange shirt or the green of the outline accents the green shirt.  Well, this day he opted for what he called his "cowboy" look because as he said, "mama, don't you know?  This is how cowboys look."  Rock it my son, as you are known to do.

Abuela and her big girl

The party, Tito Chuchi manned the grill and the chicken, well, it appears he does not have the same phobia of undercooked chicken that compels me to cook chicken for at least an hour, and his was succulent and juicy, not to mention cooked! 

After the family party, we had our little family - mama/papa/MJB/AWB party, plus one birthday sleep-over date friend, and I didn't even start the home-made pizzas until 7pm, so as you can imagine, we sat down for dinner at 9pm.  Maybe not so out of the ordinary for us, not so regular for Lulu.  At dinner Ethan asked her, what's your bedtime?  And she said, 7:30.  Uhhh, yeah. 
Magdalena had Very Specific Ideas about her birthday this year, and that included brownies and ice cream for her afternoon party, and cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory for her evening party.  (cake disclaimer here:  As you may or may not know, I am the caker in our family. I love to bake and I love to bake fabulous and decorative and delicious cakes.  Check them out here and here.  There are more, just can't link to them, anyway, we did a shake-down bake the day before we were going to bake a cake for our dearest darlingest Sarah, decided on some simple cookies.  So I pop the cookie trays in the oven and in seconds there was smoke coming from the bottom of severely charred sugar cookies.  What a bummer, yes, but also, I'm not into baking in an oven I haven't gotten my groove on with yet, so Magdalena said, you mean we get to buy a cake?  As if that were some crazy kind of treat.  Trust, my cakes are good.)   Anyhoo, break out the cheesecake at 10pm, and let the wild rumpusing begin.  And go on and on and on and on.  And the party never stops.  Then of course we all sleep in a bit on Saturday but it is still a party by george, so break out the sausages and let's go swimming!  Oy vey!  I must say, a fabulous time was had by all, as to be expected. 

And don't you have a photo of yourself like this somewhere?  I know this is not the first one I've taken, or posted for that matter, and I know it will not be the last.  There is nothing as perfect as an untroubled childhood, and this is reminiscent of mine.  I know the last time I posted this I mentioned what my mom did with one of our old photos.  Scroll down about half-way through a super long post, and you can read about it here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

why I love parenting, or a day in the life at Casa Naranja

I was just listening to Tell Me More, on NPR and the interviews were with dads, one stay-at-home, and a parenting perspective informed by the article in the current New York Magazine All Joy and No Fun; why parents hate parenting here. That is so interesting, I was just thinking the exact opposite.  I haven't blogged in over a month not because I don't love blogging, believe it or not I do, but because life is oh-so-full, in a good way.  I so often wish I was a committed, monetized blogger who blogged at least a blurb with photos every day, but for right now I am not. 
When Ethan and I were looking for houses, and we looked, trust, we had a few priorities.  Ethan: different neighborhood, good sized yard.  Connor:  pool, trees.  As you can see, we were on the same page.  Anyhoo, we looked and looked and he was getting to the point of abandoning our search when doncha know the perfect casa fell into our laps, and we scooped it up.  From the moment of signing the contract to closing was 48 days, then two weeks of painting to actually moving in.  All this to say that during all this time, since early June when I last blogged, that I have been awash in the love and joy and yes, dare I say FUN, of parenting.  Why is it that parents don't have fun?  I'm not sure but I believe that it has a lot more to do with the person than the position. 
I'm a SAHM, that's stay-at-home-mom for those unfamiliar with the acronym, homeschooling my newly minted 7-year-old daughter and 4 1/2 year old son and part time my 4 year old niece and we have fun.  I don't just mean I watch my children have fun, I mean we have fun.  Period.  About two weeks ago, just after we moved into our new-to-us house, Maco took Augustus for a playdate with Frida so Magdalena and I were on our own.  We went for an early evening swim and I played with her like I remember playing when I was a little girl.  We jumped up and down in place for ever, just exhilarating in the feeling of plunging in and out of the water, the sounds and sensations, it was incredible.  We raced, we had an underwater tea-party, we pretended, we played; basically, we had fun. 
Some parents work outside the home, some parents work part time, some parents work inside the home, some parents go to school and work, some parents have domestic help, some parents have endless resources, some parents have to make do, some parents are single, some parents have family support, some parents are on their own.  There are endless parenting styles, parenting philosophies, personalities, etc. Here's the big but, but if it sucks, and it's awful, why not examine the parenting situations and expectations, rather than "parenting". 
In addition to being a SAHM homeschooling mom, I'm also an AP, attachment parenting, style mom.  You can check out what that officially means here.  What that means to me is that I (in my best moments, I do, in my worst, I'm still figuring it out) parent with love and respect, mostly by the golden rule.  That being said, not only does it feel good to parent this way, but surprise surprise, it feels good to children, and GASP! it's effective and practical.  So here you have a completely different take on the whole "parenting makes us unhappy/depressed and the more the harrier, not happier" thesis. 
Examine the expectations, examine the parenting model, examine the behaviors, examine the time spent with those little people, quantity counts, quality counts obviously, but so does quantity. 
Ok, that's enough of a rant.  Photo essay and words about our life to follow!