Friday, July 31, 2015

Believe In or Settle For

I'm a list person. That's just who I am. Come into my house on any given day, ask me to see all the lists I currently have, and I can show you at least 5. Lists make me feel organized. They make me feel focused and accomplished when I cross even one thing off. Doesn't matter if that one thing was get the mail out of the mailbox!

You better believe I buy into bucket lists, life or seasonal. A certain number before a certain age lists. And most recently, a 101 Things in 1001 Days. I've been working on the latter since the new 2015 year. To keep on track with the '101 Things' list, you need to complete a task approximately every 10 days. Seven months into the list, I should have 21 things accomplished. I have 15. While it's not on schedule, I still feel good about the progress. Some of my list is a process, like send birthday cards to every person in my family throughout an entire year. That takes a while to complete. While others are things I can choose to complete in one day, like 'Say yes for a whole day'. Believe me everyone wants to be around for that day!

All of my list is meant to push me towards bettering myself, enjoying my life, and accomplishing some goals. One of my 101 Things includes answering all 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind. I felt the questions would push me to open up to others. Which is kind of cheating because my blog does provide a bit of anonymity, but it's a start!

Currently on #7: Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

I do believe in what I am doing right now. Personally, I have committed to being fully present for my family. I have struggled with my desire to spread myself a little thinner with activities, more schooling, or committing time to a cause placed on my heart.  But my kids and husband won out because of my personal choice. I'm not feeling the pressure of time right now. I feel everything has a season and this particular season is about my family. I trust there will be time for the other things later. I can honestly say this is a new feeling :)

Professionally, I'm on the fence about whether I'm settling or believing in my work. On one hand, I feel like I believe in my work. The field of school age care is developing. I like being a part of a field with so much potential growth. I like creating and implementing a quality program for my (work) kids. I like that my job supports families who work and provides them with a sense of comfort regarding their children. Those things make me happy. I also believe in my role as a leader. Not that I do a phenomenal job at leading :) but that I have learned more about myself in this role than any other aspect of my life. I have been knocked down repeatedly. I've cried lots and lots and lots of tears. I've been boiling mad for days. I've contemplated quitting without notice and finding a retail job with a really great discount for the rest of my life! But I have always picked myself back up. And after I do, I'm better for it. A little meaner… but better.

When I feel I'm settling, it is because I believe there is bigger work out there. A demographic really in need of help. Parents who work but can't afford quality care. Kids who are begging for someone to encourage, support, and work off the clock for them. My heart is ready for that kind of purpose. I just don't think the season is right.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

That Face Though!

Gaahh! He walked out of the kennel and into the meet and greet area. I gasped 'Oh no!' Out loud because sometimes I forget to filter. I thought to myself, 'A pitbull'. A pit bull said with disappointment and a little disgust. See I'm one of those people who buy into the stereotypes for dog breeds. I know, I know you have the sweetest pit bull who would never hurt anything. And I'm sure that is true. But I don't really believe you. Because the media has convinced me pit bulls are vicious animals. In fact, when it comes to pet fostering I have a strick no-certain-type-of-dogs rule. 

What is that saying? Rules are made to be broken? Well aren't they?  Not a motto I typically live by. However, there was something about this guy. He was so gentle and friendly with all of us. All of us including Charlie who is 100% diva at all times. When we go to pick up these fosters, Charlie ultimately decides. If he doesn't snap at them for smelling his butt, then we figure that is approval enough. One hurdle down, second hurdle…figuring out the breed of this familiar looking face. I straight up asked what the kennel tech thought this "Cattle dog" was mixed with. Wouldn't you know They couldn't quite say... Maybe a lab???  Ms Gullible, 'oh ok. I can see that. I guess.' But the minute we got in the van with Jack, I had this suspicion we were bringing home a pit bull. And I wasn't quite sure how I felt about it. 

We've had him all of 10 hours and we are definitely loving his personality. Which happens with all our fosters. Charlie picks some pretty smart doggies! Submissive pup, too. Just the way Charlie likes them! Jack is very gentle and mellow. The neighbor's dogs have not been very welcoming. They have been barking up a storm about the newbie.  Charlie plays the cool kid and sides with the neighbor dogs. Which means standing behind Jack barking at him. Poor Jack! All he wants to do is play. He is very social. Wow, look at all these stereotypes Jack is breaking!   I'm starting to feel like a little bit of a jerk. Anyways, with all this harassing Jack hasn't barked or growled back. In fact, he seems to be a little intimidated by all the noise. 

Maybe, once Jack gets comfortable with us he will bite someone or attack another dog?? I mean if Jack is part pit then it should be expected right?!? Or maybe not? I may see all my assumptions disproved by this adorable mix breed :) What ever that mix may be! And who knows I could be wrong. What do you guys think? What breeds would you guess Jack is?

I mean really…that face though!

Friday, July 24, 2015

When They Are About To Leave

You know those last few days before he leaves? The ones when you so desperately try to fill your mental and emotional reserves with time and experiences and just plain moments together as a whole family? 16 years later and we still do it. I'm not sure if it means anything to the kids or my husband. I mean the leaving is inevitable. And if you've done it a hundred times, then…well…you've done it a hundred times. Same shit, different year. Right? One last trip to the zoo doesn't change the fact that your entire family is going to be separated in a few short days. No matter how often we do this separating, I still want to spend the last days together. And one of those days better be fun! You know to balance the 'not fun' part ;)

He knows the day is coming. Probably because I reminded him 25 times, "I really want to do something fun before you leave'. It may be the only time I get away with dragging him around town without him fussing about it. 
"Do you want to go to Disney?" I've trained him well. Every other year, the fun day has to be Disney.  But the kids are getting older, they want Six Flags roller coasters and Universal Studios special effects. I was looking for something a little more self-guided. I suggested a day in San Diego. We never go to San Diego anymore since we moved a little further north. 

So, we did San Diego. ComiCon was in town. I knew the boys would love it. We didn't have tickets to the actual ComiCon but there was plenty to do outside the convention center. Plus, I knew it would be easy to convince the husband to swing by The Donut Bar. 

Which is the most fantastic donut shop ever! And frankly is reason enough to road trip to San Diego! We booked the harbor cruise; just in case, ComicCon was a flop. I'm not sure why I thought that would happen. We ditched the harbor cruise after the 1st hour on the water. Kids choice, of course! 

San Diego never gets old to me! It really is a beautiful city. And now I have my happy memories and pictures to get me through this short business trip :/


Thursday, July 23, 2015

My End Of Summer

The end of summer is looming near. I'm feeling pretty good about starting a new school year. I've spent 6 weeks planning the entire school year and it has reduced a lot of anxiety over my work/life balance A big struggle for me. This week I made a few freezer meals to have on our busy nights or at the end of a stressful day. I'm feeling positive about this school year! 

Not to get ahead of myself, I still have 12 days left of summer break. A summer break that has been oh-so-good for my soul. Strange because I really haven't done much to yield that outcome. I guess  nothing to speak of can be just what you need! 

For the next twelve days look for more casual outings with my kids on the Instagram! It's the only thing on my to-do list. And maybe a pedicure.

Roller skating was our main outing this week. I think we need one more skate before school.

The boys have been attending basketball day camp at our local community center. They go at different times because of their ages. It's a blessing! They are the best of friends and love to be together. But all that together time leads to bickering and arguing. I'm about to reach my limit on that nonsense!

Ky has found a renewed interest in photographing her dog, Charlie. We all helped her create a chalk scene for her recent session.

All that fun and it's only Thursday! Watch out world!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Aquarium of the Pacific

Courtesy of my animal loving daughter, a picture overload of Aquarium of the Pacific. I would call this a hidden gem, located in Long Beach, California. The aquarium is probably overshadowed by SeaWorld. And if you are anything like me, you figure not much can top SeaWorld when it comes to displaying sea life. Oh, but I was wrong. I love a smaller aquarium because they often focus on the regional habitants. Don't you want to know what is swimming around your toes at the beaches, rivers, or lakes in your area? Ok, maybe we are better off not knowing! If you have irrational fears like me, that is ;)

I loved this gigantic wall tank. I would have been happy to pay my admission and sit in front of this tank all day.

But I have kids who have LOTS of energy! Plus, there was so much to see.

Jellyfish get my vote for best exhibit at any aquarium. Aquarium of the Pacific has lots of jellyfish. There is a jellyfish petting tank. Not sure how that works but for the brave. 

Yep, that is my kid. Hanging on the aquarium :/
Don't judge!

Hands down, the most number of interactive exhibits of any aquarium we've visited. Which is only like 7 aquariums total. But still.

More jellies!

The outside of the aquarium after we were all evacuated because of a fire alarm.
Does anyone else find it ironic to be evacuated. for a fire. at an aquarium.
Haha…we heard it was a false alarm and eventually went back inside.

I'm giving this aquarium a thumbs up. There is a lot to do. Not only the aquariums and interactive exhibits but there are animal shows outside as well. A shark tank, which you may have seen on Instagram, and a bird aviary where you can feed lorikeets. 

I have a feeling we will be back later this year because our Marine Corps Ball is in the area. 
It's a nice smallish place for the kids to explore without the stress of keeping tabs on them.  Winning!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Make Me Rich!

If happiness was the national currency, how would you earn the most money? Would you need to change your career or the way you spend your time? Recently, I read Oprah's book What I Know For Sure which really made me think about what I do to get myself happy. My conclusion: Not a lot. I find myself getting into really comfortable routines. Routines I'm not even sure I like. Sometimes, I look back on an evening or weekend and think 'What a waste of time!" Clearly I'm not very smart.

It may be the Oprah haze talking, but I think it's time for a change. I'll put the summer bucket on the back burner and work on a happy list.  They say 21 days make a habit! Maybe by the time the hubby leaves I will have it all figured out! 

My short list for happy:

Taking pictures
Water--like oceans and lakes
Alone time
A Clean House

Now, all I need is to change our entire economic currency to happiness and life will be grand! Who is with me?!?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Daytrippin to Long Beach

I'm a little stunned it is Friday. This week was a fast one, huh? Here we are in July and I can see the end of summer just on the horizon :( Maybe I'm just being a tinge dramatic?!? I'm not sure why I feel this way. I guess the beginning of July is to summer's end as Halloween is to Christmas. Once those dates arrive, time seems to hit the fast forward button. I'm trying my best to enjoy every day. Soak up every minute of free time.

This week we had a to drive to Long Beach for a summer camp rally night. The boys are both going to YMCA sleep away camp this month. They are super excited about it! We bought sleeping bags tonight. Zac couldn't be more thrilled! He came home and packed his fanny pack with all the essentials, just in case, he gets lost in the woods. Which does wonders for my nerves already thinking of sending them off for a week in the mountains. At least, I know Zac will be safe with his flashlight and cough drops!!

While in Long Beach, we stopped by the Aquarium of the Pacific. We have been laying low this summer so it was time for a fun outing. And the aquarium was fun! The kids got to interact with some unique animals.

Feeding the lorikeets was my favorite. The boys each has a cup of food which attracted some pretty brave birds. The boys were ok when with a lorikeet on their hand. When birds climbed up to the shoulder and then on top of their head, the boys were getting a little squeamish. I don't blame them. All the fluttering around my head freaked me out a little.

The shark tank was pretty cool too. I know the shark community is really under fire these days. 
A thick glass between you and those teeth always put things into perspective again. Stay out of their tank and you will live a long life. End PSA.

My last favorite is the jelly fish petting tank.
Never have we ever is the best way to put it.
I didn't even think you touch jellyfish without getting stung.
So... if it were on the bucket list we could cross that off ;)