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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Coming back to reality

Dear Friends and Family

First part of this week was straight vacation. We took Cal Train up to San Francisco from Mom and Dad's house. Surprisingly easy to do and don't know why I didn't do it more when I lived at home! We checked into our hotel which would end up having the best bed I have ever slept in - Jeremy agrees - and a great view overlooking the whole city since we were 26 stories up right next to the Moscone Center. Jeremy and I walked through the city and then along the bay visiting Pier 39 and having the required clam chowder in a bread bowl. There is something about watching the sea lions and the boats and the salt air that makes sourdough and soup taste so good together. Then we took a ferry out to Alcatraz Island and did an audio tour out there that was really good and then just walked around. The day was extremely windy, so the ride out to the island was a little rocky and we were glad for our jackets. I don't know if I would do the island again but its definitely neat to do it once. Most of the history I had no real idea about. One of the escapes was made into a Clint Eastwood movie that I want to see now. I also never knew about the Indian occupation or had thought about all the children and families who grew up on the rock while their dad's were guards. Its a little creepy to hear accounts of children playing games outside these prisoners' cells. That night we met up with the rest of Jeremy's company to attend a Giants game, 5th row behind 3rd base. It was really fun to watch, and thats coming from a non-baseball fan. It was also really cold! Made the polish dogs with sauerkraut taste that much better. (I decided I focused too much on food this trip - I told Jeremy I figured out why everything tasted better on our vacation, I didn't have to make it and I could sit and eat my meal instead of taking care of kids all around me)

Tuesday Jeremy was at the convention all day and I spent the day wondering around and shopping. I found an H & M store which is one of my favorites. It always takes me aback when I try clothes on there as they do fashion sizes not vanity sizes. Their clothes are too nice for me to wear with my kids as I never know what disgusting thing I will be around during the day but I got a new church outfit. I met up with one of the other women to walk through china town - talk about some serious pushy saleswomen. Meandered around till I reached Ghiradelli Square and then took a cable car back. Before this trip I thought I was in pretty good shape but boy after two days of walking hills all day my calves were aching. That evening I thought of how grateful I am (now) for my eye surgery as I laid down for an hour to catch a nap before I had to meet up with the group. I can't remember the last time I slept during the day, what a luxury. That night we all went to the restaurant at the top of the Bank of America building. It has glass on all sides overlooking the city so we got to sit and watch the sun go down and all the lights go on. The food was amazing and I cheerfully and tiredly waddled back to the hotel afterwards.

Wednesday I ran, wondered the city and met up with Jeremy and then Christina for lunch. Christina's work now is really amazing, I am not sure how much of my opinion is based on the fact that I like the genre she is doing more now. Then we took Bart to the airport to wait for a delayed plane and then on home. Our kids had the best time while we were gone. Lindsay had everything cleaned up and had even washed our sheets and remade our bed. The next day the kids told me how she took them to the park and the animal museum. She had one of our 4 teenage brothers come over each day to play with Spencer - football, wii, basketball - which he thought was wonderful! She had her 11 year old sister come over a bunch to do crafts with Allison. And she had quiet time every day during Robyn's nap time during which Allison and Spencer had to quietly play on a couch, at a table or in their rooms. They said the biggest rule was that you didn't bother Lindsay for those 2 hours. I thought it was a great idea and one I will have to carry over into summer.

Thursday was a sad wake-up to reality. The kids all made me breakfast in bed - waffle sticks, juice, toast - I was very impressed. Robyn thought she should be crawling up into bed with me to help do the syrup so we moved the party downstairs to the kitchen. I spent the day facing a mountain of laundry and house cleaning but promised the kids we would make it to the park after nap time. So we did and our neighbors joined us so all the kids had a friend to run around with. They loved it.

Friday I had promised the kids for spring break we would go to the zoo and get our pass for the year. They were bouncing around as I tried to eat breakfast ready to go. It ended up being high 70s and sunny so it was a great day to go. 2 of our neighbors ended up being up there with their kids as well which made it nicer for everyone. Robyn loved the wild turkeys running around and took a while to believe us that they would bite her hand if she grabbed them. Spencer and his friend noticed all the nature aspects of the zoo - i.e. poop hanging off a monkey's rear - and giggled together with enjoyment most of the day. After 4 hours as I pushed Taylor's wheelchair up a steep heel with a 2 year old on my back I just looked in disbelief as Allison and Spencer complained at how tired their legs were! But if you walk to the back off the zoo you have to walk out! We stopped to visit Kelly and her girls on the way home. They have been finishing up some yard projects, new fence, deck etc and we wanted to check it out. Their girls came home with us for cousin pizza and movie night. Got home 8 hours after leaving pooped but with happy kids. We have been having warmer weather and although snacks disappear at an alarming rate and kids need to be bathed every night to get the dirt off, the house is much calmer now! Kids ran around, enjoyed a bunch of pizza, strawberries and ice cream and laid around worn out, sunburned and ready for bed. Jeremy and I decided we had become callous as we listed to Kayla yelling at us from her couch that she wanted to go home, Robyn singing and Allison complaining while we calmly ate ice cream and watched an old tv show quite happily.

With the warmer weather here the last few days I have been eager to dive into our yard. I pulled a ton of dandelions yesterday in our lawn before mowing it and this morning it still looks like there is yellow polka dots all over. We cleaned a bunch, with Jeremy's work and a church assignment but our kids brought along a friend each so they were happy for the work. As I watched Robyn race around the church pushing a carpet sweeper I wondered how much work they actually did but at least they were there. That night I went to the tulip festival at Thanksgiving Point with Jeremy as he was meeting his photo walk group there. I got to wonder while he and his photo geek friends got to discuss lenses and angles to their hearts content. Winning solution for both of us.

Jeremy also helped with a photo shoot Saturday morning. He has really been diving into photography and his online groups more. He is ramping up a bit as he prepares for this big Osmond project he has coming up. I remembered Christina saying when I got married that she wanted to marry someone who ironed as Jeremy spent Friday night catching up for me on all the ironing - which was quite a daunting task. He tries really hard to balance everything out but there is always more to do than there is time it seems. He was gone from 6-12 today and then got called back to do tithing for an hour or two this afternoon. What a guy.

We found a finish guy and a tile guy for our downstairs. They do the finish work starting the end of this week for which I am very excited. I need to epoxy our food storage room floor before they can shelf there which I am not too excited about. Jeremy has vacuumed (Shop Vac) out the basement many times but there is still a lot of dirt and dust down there. And the floor has to be all clean before we can paint it. See how much happens this week!

Coming back home is always nice and always a shock to the system. Thoughts of, do I really do this much and is this how I am always treated start running through your mind. Just need to remind myself to delegate, buckle down or let it go. Missed our kids though and appreciate even more their hugs and kisses. It is nice to do trips with Jeremy though as it reminds us of our non-kid personalities! As I sat on a bench overlooking the bay I remembered the story of the grasshopper who didn't work all summer but looked at the flowers, sounds and nature all around him. Then during the winter he entertained the other grasshoppers with his stories, pictures, and sounds. I think of times like this past week of storing moments of peace, beauty and calm that I hope I can remember when I need to go to a 'happy place' during stressful moments. Love to you all, Heather


The Skeehan Family said...

Heather - you write so poetically - I think you should be a children's book writer :) You know, amongst the other 1000 things you do during the week! Glad you guys had such a great time in California.You guys definitely deserve a little perfection every now and again!