Arts and crafts were a daily thing when my boys were little.
But no longer.
Legos usurped crayons, paint and paper.
Then gaming crept in and crowded out free play.
Sports and school work became a priority.
And one day,
I realized I was the last one standing with paintbrush in hand.
I miss making art with my boys.
I think it’s a crying shame they’ve stepped away from drawing, painting and making.
Maybe it’s just because I’m their mom…
But darn it!
It’s NOT just because I’m their mom.
Those boys have an eye and a knack for the artsy stuff.
I wanted to lure them back.
A half dozen cans of Montana Gold spray paint and assorted sized canvases.
Did it work?
Did it ever!
Let me show you.
I pitched the idea of trying some graffiti art to my 15 year old.
Since he’d finished his homework and wasn’t rushing off to play basketball,
he actually agreed to come out & play with me!
We set up shop in our backyard and started experimenting with the paints.
It was a little messy.
A little smelly.
And a whole lot of fun.
We were immediately engrossed in the process.
As soon as he noticed something interesting was going on in the backyard,
my 12 year old ran out to join us.
My only words of caution to the boys?
“Just don’t get it in your eyes.”
There is something so satisfying out of watching your kid create something.
How mom-ish of me to get all choked up over this afternoon of together time?
Well I am a mom.
And I was completely, overwhelmingly, delightedly happy in this moment.
I sure do love my boys.
You know what the cherry on top of all this was?
We ended up in the backyard again the very next afternoon.
E spray painted a ghostly mickey.
Si reworked his original painting.
Then proudly hung it up in his room.
We’re considering collaborating on one more big piece to hang in our hallway.
How cool is that?
I’m taking a week off for family playtime.
Got my swimsuit, bike helmet and cool new Instax packed & ready to go.
“Good Lord Willing & the Creek Don’t Rise…”
We should be out & about having a fab time in So Cal.
Please be introduced to Barkus.
Newest member to our family.
(because he smells like corn chips)
The truth is,
I did not want a dog.
Growing up, I was never interested in any of our family pets.
Then after making it through the little kid years,
The last thing I wanted was to be tied down with a puppy.
And then look who become part of our family one year ago…
Barkus was a bribe.
When we moved from NYC,
We promised one boy his own basketball hoop in the driveway.
And the other boy a puppy.
(With the understanding that both kids participated in the dog’s daily care.)
You’re probably laughing at me.
What kid ever actually keeps his promise to take care of that dog he begged for?
Both boys stepped up to their dog owner responsibilities.
They walk him.
Take him out for potty breaks.
Play with him.
Make sure he’s not up to mischief.
But here’s what we didn’t count on.
We never considered Barkus might favor one of us.
He chose me.
I am Barkus’s human.
The joke is on me.
I didn’t really want him.
Yet here I am,
with this furry little shadow following me from room to room.
If I’m in the kitchen, then he is in the kitchen.
If I’m reading, he’s snuggled by my side.
Even when I’m painting, he needs to be directly next to me.
On the couch wasn’t sufficiently close.
He waits for me to finish painting in his own special cubby next to my easel.
By the way,
He’s sleeping across my lap even as I sit here blogging…
You know all those reasons I didn’t want a dog?
They are all true.
This troublesome, smelly, furry bit of mischief has become an integral part of my day.
Much as I complain,
I suppose it’s a good thing to be Barkus’s human.
Enjoying our Thanksgiving tradition.
Just the four of us.
Splashing around in the waves.
Searching for sea glass.
Digging trenches and building sand cities.
Sandy fingers on fries and burgers.
Everything tastes better by the beach.
Winds whipping ’round us.
Sea gulls hovering.
Boys asked for just one sip of my pina colada.
My littler guy flashed me a cheeky grin and said just once, he’d like to try…
“A pina colada… and getting caught in the rain…”
Both kids broke out in song and did a little impromptu dance.
Forget the roasted turkey and all its fixings.
It’s deli turkey, Stove Top stuffing and canned cranberry sandwiches for us in home-tel
And then back outside.
Chasing the sun.
New York City.
Dirty and smelly.
Permeated with frenetic drive.
Can’t even begin to explain how much we’ve missed it.
Six months in a Charlotte suburb.
Remember that line from the witch in “Into the Woods?”
“You’re not good. You’re not bad. You’re just nice.”
Let’s just say we’re still experiencing culture shock.
There are days the clean, spacious, sleepy suburban niceness makes me want to chew my foot off.
Digging holes in the backyard helps me work off some of the restlessness.
But a far better remedy for our homesickness was this weekend’s getaway back to New York.
Airport was packed.
A passenger rude to my son.
Stop and go traffic all the way into the city.
Still had to check into our hotel.
Less than 30 minutes to a coveted dinner reservation.
Felt a familiar cranky edginess as my heart started pumping faster.
We dashed across midtown.
Skirted suspicious looking puddles and wove our way past taxis.
I turned to my husband and said,
“This feels so…. normal.”
A part of me screamed at myself,
“How could we have left this?”
Had a crazy fabulous exhausting weekend.
Ate ourselves sick.
Walked over 12 hours the first day.
Wandered through Grand Central.
Hung out with friends.
Ran around for two days straight.
Didn’t even come close to seeing everything and everyone we’ve been missing.
Left this morning with heavy hearts.
…My boys claimed the right to be more sad since they went straight from airport to school…
Walked into our peaceful house.
So quiet I could hear the clocks ticking.
Made myself a cup of tea.
Walked the perimeter of our backyard.
Checked on the Swiss chard.
Ran my fingers along the rosemary to smell their sharp clean scent.
Lifted my face to the sun.
Think part of me will always berate myself for leaving that nutty city we love.
But just as there were reasons to stay,
There were reasons to leave too.
There’s value in a slower, more quiet, manicured life…
Made easier to appreciate when we can indulge in the occasional NY weekend.
Another trip to California to visit family.
Another chance to go to Disneyland.
We are one of those families.
The ones who go to Disney year after year but never tire of it.
This year is “Diamond Disney.”
The big 60 year celebration.
Crowds of people wearing their Mickey ears.
Running for fast passes.
Still standing in long lines.
Eating giant turkey legs.
Going on ride after ride after ride.
Holding the perfect spot for hours just to see fireworks.
But every bit of it is part of the Disney experience we love so much.
It’s still possible to crowd in at the last moment if you’re ok with only partial views.
But if you’re willing to pay,
I recommend the Fantasmic! Dining Package.
It cost us a full dinner for four at the Blue Bayou Restaurant.
Food was just ok.
But it was worth it for access to the front and center cordoned off viewing space.
We even each got a little foam cushion to take home with us.
Those cushions came in handy the rest of our visit.
We used them to hold street space during our two hour wait for fireworks.
By the way, the parade is awesome.
Kind of a bigger, better, cooler Electric Light Parade.
Two tips if you’re want to watch it:
1. Wait for the 10:45pm parade.
2. It’s less crowded by the Matterhorn.
I get more chicken every year.
This visit, I flat refused to get on a single roller coaster or anything that makes me pukey.
I felt a little silly about it until…
I saw my guys on the swinging Ferris Wheel.
The kids were waving wildly at me.
But my poor husband was crouched over with his head buried in his hands.
No puking for me, thank you very much.
Our all time favorite ride is still Midway Mania.
8 rounds this year.
Because we’re still engaged in our annual competition
And because we do refer back to our scores –
Here they are:
And so ends summer.