Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Mountain Sunsets

Y'all. Wow.
What a way to end the long weekend.
I wanted to get the family out to where the pigs were last week on the off chance that they would still be hanging out in that same area.
They were! The kids got to see them, and we also saw tarantula #5 of the season.
But the highlight of the hike was the sunset.
Just amazing.
Trail info on this one - I park on the side of North Gate Rd at the Burma trail head. It's Burma to Buckeye to Stage to Burma.


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Pigs, Tarantulas, and Other Beautiful Trail Things!

This is one of my favorite little loops. It's short, but packs an elevation punch. Obviously there's no shortage of beauty along this little loop.
This is Burma to Buckeye to Stage and back to Burma.
Rattlesnake Gulch sign on Stage Rd

These are not in order. This is at the end when you crest the last ridge and are almost back to your car which is parked on North Gate Rd.

I always forget how long and hot the climb up out of the valley is.

I used to bring the kiddos out here to pick black berries.

This was the first tarantula sightings I've had this year! I saw 2.

So many different colors!

First time ever seeing wild pigs!! I've waited a long time for this to happen. I see tracks all the time, traps all the time....finally got to see actual wild pigs!

I wish I was good enough to say I actually planned this shot but I was just randomly clicking hoping I got a shot before it ran away.

Me! This hike totally recharged me. I was so happy and excited to finally see pigs and the first tarantulas of the season and just everything! I also had on new shorts and was super happy they stayed put and didn't do that annoying riding up thing some shorts do. (just being honest) Also, like how I skip showing you my butt and gut?? I'm tricky like that.
My legs are coming back but the never ending quest to get the rest of my body to match my legs continues....

One of the many natural springs on the mountain.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Maui Goals, 2020

Y'all, that was a long blogging gap! I'm not making any promises, but I will be blogging more often.

Something about having the kids in middle and high school feels like they are settled in. I have a hard time putting into words why or how this feels....but I guess I finally feel like the girls are in their final years of school and are pretty self sufficient. They don't need help with school stuff, there's relatively little mom stress associated with them, they just kind of run themselves at this point.  As for Myles, I finally feel at peace with knowing I've done all I can as a mom to set him up the best I can. Don't get me wrong, everyday is a new adventure, things change with him quickly......but as far as having to fight the school to get what he needs, de-stressing his life as much as possible, figuring out tips and tricks to make daily life doable for him.....for now, I feel a calmness knowing we have done our best and he's set up for success, now it's up to him to advocate for himself, speak up, and take advantage of everything that we've worked hard to get in place for him.  I don't feel like I need to be at school as much as possible to make sure he's ok, volunteering or calling meetings or just worrying in general.

That said, it's hard to admit, but it's been a good 5 years since I've felt any real desire to get back into a running and working out routine. I'm a very 100% or 0% person, and when Myles started school and my focus had to change, the switch flipped to 0% and stayed there. I'm totally not blaming Myles at all. This is a ME problem, many parents handle stress and challenges in healthy ways, turning more to their personal time, making sure they keep up with their healthy outlets whatever that may be for them. I am not that person. I turned all of my energy into researching our new situation and all it involved from the health aspects, psychological aspects, education system aspects, to learning what occupational therapy, neuropsychology, and speech therapy were.  When I wasn't figuring out my new normal, I was running around to the school, or appointments, or at home stressing out.  Totally not a healthy way to handle things.

So here we are....6 years into our new normal, and it finally feels normal.  Something about this year feels like things are finally calm again, and we've settled in to life.  So I've been back out on the mountain. I've made a workout binder, thanks to Pintrest and me knowing what kind of workouts I like.  Its going to be a long, slow road back to anywhere near where I was before as far as health and fitness, running, weight, etc., but at least the switch has flipped back.  I have LOVED being back on the mountain! Brian got me my state park pass, so I have total access to the mountain. He also got me a new Garmin, which I didn't need, but it's nice to have new gear. Trail shoes are on the way to me as I type. I've been having some shoe issues, so hopefully I can figure it out soon.

As for Maui, Emma, Auntie Jill, and I are going for Emma's senior trip in September 2020.  Last time I was there I was in super great shape. I ran every morning and somehow lost weight while on vacation. It was such a fun trip, and I WILL be back in shape by our 2020 trip. There are short term goals, too. I currently have no acrylic nails on, and wont put them back on until I drop 20 lbs...which is a huge deal for me! Silly I know, but I've worn them since I was 15 and can't stand not having them.

Anyhow, so there's an update on "real" life. I do plan on blogging more since there are actually planks and fartleks happening again!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Fun Years

This will start of with what seems a random thought, but hang in and it might come together at some point -
Brian was a very hands on papa from day one of having kids.  He changed the first diapers, and many after. He got up for many (most) of the night feedings. He rocked babies to sleep, sang silly songs, danced around the room to get laughs, you name it, he did it. More importantly, he really enjoyed it.  I really think that so far in the raising kids scheme of things, those early years, lets say birth to school age, were his favorite. He loves kids that age still, and is very ready for grand kids already. It's safe to say he (and for sure I) have zero interest in having a baby again, but grand kids sound pretty nice to him.  Why am I telling you this?? Well, turns out we have opposite, but complementary "kid" outlooks. I am that odd mom who did not enjoy the early baby years. I know moms aren't supposed to say that. But it's true. I didn't like diapers, crying babies, potty training, no sleep....especially those first 6 months when they are just a blob. Beautiful, chubby, little, perfect blobs....but blobs non the less, who can't even sit up by themselves. The constantly holding, or feeding, or changing, or getting pooped on or spit up on, days on end with no shower.....I was not a fan. Things got easier around 18 months when they'd get a bit more independent and personalities really popped out. Thank goodness for Brian because man did we balance each other out during those years!  Don't get me wrong, there were more good than bad times back then, I'm just saying if I'm being honest about this whole raising kids thing, the baby stage wasn't my favorite. I have always looked forward to the older years.

In the blink of an eye, we now have 11, 14, and 16 year olds. Boy have Brian and my roles flipped! These are the years I have been so looking forward to, and he's desperately pumping the brake, trying to slow time down. I'm jumping at the bit for all the first, and milestones, and he's getting dragged along next to me : ) I'm going to lump this section of raising kids into a time that started the first big "your growing up" milestones....and I'm not sure when I view it as ending. Maybe with high school graduation? I'm not sure, but I'll know it when it comes. So in my mind, that first tearing eyed graduation...yep, Emma's 5th grade graduation was when it started. She gave the graduation speech for her class, and there was a video starting from kindergarten and going through 5th grade. We sobbed and for the first time realized she'd be graduating high school in no time. Then Sophie had her 5th grade graduation, same thing. I was super excited both times that they were moving on to middle school, while Brian was not so enthusiastic. With middle school came the need for cell phones. (they walk home and I wanted to be able to communicate with them). Oh, and they walked home rather than needing picked up. Huge mom milestone. So exciting.

So I wont go through every milestone that has come along in these past few years, but it's so exciting for me to see them growing up! All the work of those early years was for these years. Watching them grow, giving them some independence and freedoms and seeing what they do with it, how they handle it, who they've grown into/are growing into. Seeing what their interests are and what adventures and choices they make. It's so exciting for me! This is the time I've been patiently waiting for. Things like surprising your oldest kid with her first I looked forward to that since the day she was born, and now it's finally that time! Middle school talent shows. High school football games. Group projects. Internships. Peer mentors. Youth awards. Cute boys. Daughters who will talk to me about the cute boys. Taking my girls to the mall, while Brian and Myles see a movie.  Driving around in Emma's truck with her. All of it, I love it all.

With the oldest kid experiencing firsts for the first time, the youngest is doing firsts for the last time. (that sentence hurt my head a little) Meaning that we are doing firsts on the front end, and wrapping them up on the back Myles just had his/my last elementary school play. He's 42 days away from our last 5th grade graduation, our last kid we well celebrate the start of middle school with.  The last kid we bought their "first cell phone" for.  Which makes me enjoy these years even more because man, it's going by so fast! It's so exciting, and fun....and fast. Sweet Emma, who just had that 5th grade graduation I talked about earlier, will soon be a Junior in high school.

So yeah. That's pretty much life right now.  It's crazy fast. It's fun. I'm right in the heart of the whole part I've been looking forward to forever, reassuring Brian it's all going to be ok. : ) I know I haven't been posting as much as previous years...but I'm still here. Just in a new season of mom-hood that I'm really, really enjoying.

Here's a peek -

 Personal study night in Monday night, above Myles is watching a video (I think about Noah) with his buddy Duke, on his new phone.

 Man I wish you could hit play on that video. Me and Emma bonding as Jimmy Kimmel and his side kick telling jokes.

 Above, Myles as the state of Pennsylvania in his school play.
 Above, I'm enjoying buying the random accessory for Emma's truck.
 Sweet Sophie's PE and principal nominated her for the Contra Costa County Youth Hall of Fame Award.  We went with them to a ceremony honoring the nominees in Martinez at the city council board members chambers.

 Emma took her truck down to the DMV and got her permit!!
 Myles got the flu and visited urgent care with a 103 fever...right at the start of spring break. He shared it with everyone but Brian.
 Miss Emma packed her bags last week and flew down to Anaheim with her high school's Hosa club. They met up with over 3000 kids from all the HOSA clubs in CA state and learned lots of medical stuff.
 CA HOSA at the Convention Center. Emma's  somewhere in that crowd.
 Below is her group.
And finally....these tickets arrived for Sophie and Brian's New York trip this summer!! Well, that's not the actual ticket, but the actual tickets have arrived. I'm so excited for her!!