As for our lucky selves here in the city, life is humming along as usual. I've personally done some soul searching since my last post (and have gone back and forth from "I'm glad I shared all of that" to "I wish I hadn't shared all of that") and as a result have come up with a few small steps towards feeling more positive more often:
I've started a group with some local parents called "Little Heroes". I posed a general question on my Facebook page, asking if anyone would be interested in forming a Roots and Shoots (an online networking site started by Jane Goodall, intended to motivate youth to think and act altruistically) group with our kids. The intention being to get together once in a while and do some service projects with our kids. I was thrilled to see the response and I'm happy to say we have a good sized group for now, with the real potential to grow. I contacted a friend in South Africa that I thought might be interested in setting up a pen pal relationship between our group and a group there and she introduced us to the Roots and Shoots coordinator there. We haven't had everything finalized yet but it looks like we will be able to communicate with a Roots and Shoots preschool group over there. Our first official project will be to bake cookies for our firefighters and hand deliver them with some thank you pictures and letters. We are really excited about it and you can be sure I'll share our groups experiences with you!
I also realized in my soul searching this week that I really miss making music. It was such a part of who I was in the first half of my life and I think I've always missed it in this second half. So, I convinced Nathan that it was important enough to me to find a way to fit a big old piano in our apartment and we are now officially looking for one! That alone is very exciting, but now I have to find one for free or very cheap which will take some patience. Even I'm not quite sure it's worth paying money for one so while I consider asking for one for Christmas or something, I'll be searching the area for anyone who might be giving one away (I've been told this isn't at all an unreachable goal). Wish me luck!
Anyway so things are looking up! Here are some pictures of some of the things we've managed to do when we are sick of sitting in front of the fan. I know we aren't the only ones feeling this heat, so I hope you all are finding ways to stay relatively cool an comfortable--Happy Summer!
Rediscovering Boulder Creek. We used to take advantage of this more often when we first moved here but have fallen out of the habit for some reason. One day last week I took the kids and a friend of Zoe's to our old spot and was reminded of how lucky we are to have this right at our fingertips.
This was our view the day the Flagstaff Fire started and grew. We knew we were safe, but it was pretty unsettling:
Zoe loves to take pictures with our camera and I always get a kick out of the result. That paired with the fact that she and Owen become more and more like playmates every day make these pictures she took of him the other day so awesome to me. I love picturing her telling him to stand still for the picture and him totally going with it:
Speaking of them becoming playmates...this scene makes me so happy and it happens more and more these days. Both of them quietly working at the kitchen table:
These days, having friends over is less of a favor for the friends parent and more of a treat for me. In particular, Zoe's friend Sierra is so lovely to have around that sometimes I beg Jessica to let her come over and stay all day long. When Sierra is over and Owen is napping, the girls don't need a thing from me and I can clean, sit on the computer or even sit at the kitchen table and stare out the window while drinking coffee! It's amazing! With the relaxation, I have to brace myself for the aftermath though because these girls have the craziest imaginations and when they join forces...well, this is what you get:
I really don't mind, though...it always makes me happy that they have so much fun together and get so sucked into whatever it is they are playing. Yay for friends!
Finally, Zoe and I did a project the other day that I'd really been looking forward to. I saw this Melted Crayon Stained Glass post on the Artful Parent and loved the idea. I wasn't sure if Zoe was old enough to stay safe with the hot cookie sheet, but I finally decided she would be able to be careful enough if I explained it to her and stayed right next to her the whole time. Boy, was I wrong...the poor thing burned herself twice!! After the first time, I figured she was done but she really wanted to try it again. I came up with a new system that I thought would totally work but she lost her concentration for a split second and burned herself again. As she wailed that second time, she said "AT LEAST I GOT TO DRAW A LITTLE!!" and I felt alternately terrible for introducing the project to her and amused that she was kind of happy about it despite the burns. As we did the last step (the step that doesn't involve hot stuff) after she calmed down, she said "It's okay, life isn't over yet." When I asked her what she meant she said "You know, how we have life? You know how sometimes it ends? Well, it's just not there yet...you know, you say it all the time!" I realized of course that she had meant to say "It's not the end of the world." :-) She's been impressing me lately with her coping skills...the other day, she begged me to let her get her haircut when we took Owen in to get one. She wanted it really short and I let her go for it. After we left, she said she "didn't like the size" (it's too short) and that if anyone tells her they like it, she'll just say "Thank You" so she doesn't have to say "Actually I don't like it." She hasn't shed one tear over it or pitched one fit and she clearly doesn't like it. I think that's pretty hard to do, even for an adult so I've felt proud of her for it. Anyway, here are the pictures of the project (and her new cut):
|That's mine in the foreground...Zoe is cutting out the shape she wanted|
|The second go-round. I was holding the paper for her as she drew. It was very satisfying (before the burn happened) but honestly, the sheet doesn't stay hot enough long enough so this effect only happens in the first minute or so)|
|Brushing vegetable oil onto the back|
|Was it worth it? Eh...I don't think so but still window worthy.|