Monday, June 23, 2008

Kindred Spirit

During my life's journey so far, I have been blessed to have made the acquaintance of a few "kindred spirits" along the way. If you have one yourself, you know the type of person about whom I am referring. These are the people to whom you are connected on a level separate from time and space. My sister is one of these people---which is good, because, being she lives across the Atlantic Ocean, time and space are not on our side! But our connection transcends that. I often know that she will be calling me even before the phone rings. My friend, Amy, in Phoenix, is another one of my kindred spirits. I have been thinking of her a lot lately. Tonight, after I put the kids to bed, I wandered downstairs, feeling alone (Mike left for San Antonio today and won't be back until Thursday night), and wondering for a split second how I might remedy that, when the phone rang. It was Amy. Thanks for the great chat, Amy, and for your friendship. I am glad our connection has transcended time and space! I just added another entry below. I hope it keeps you entertained (perhaps even enlightened?) at work! ;-)

Third Time is a Charm

I recently sat down to read Wendy Mogel's book The Blessing of a Skinned Knee for the third time. The first time I read it was about 3.5 years ago, when I was still the mother of one. I remember being overwhelmed, thinking, "Boy, I have a lot of work to do!" The second time I read it was this past year in a parenting class at the temple. I was so excited to hear that they were going to be discussing this book, because I had always wanted to get feedback from other parents on the topics covered. We had a great group of parents and an awesome leader, and I gained some new insights. The other day, I picked it up again, just to refresh myself and sort of evaluate how I have been doing RE: implementation. While there are still many things I can improve upon, of course, I am happy to report that I am feeling pretty good about where I am at on this parenting journey. And it's not because things are necessarily "better" than before--every day presents its own challenges (some new, some of the same ones, over and over and over again!)-- but that I have come to the point of acceptance---that parenting is TOUGH, but I am giving it all I have got, and that is good enough. The rest is in the hands of a Power greater than myself.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Happy Camper!

The first ten days of summer "vacation" (as a parent, the "vacation" part of "summer vacation" takes on a new meaning!) have been somewhat challenging for us here in the Bellowe household. While we had plenty of activities planned during the week to spare her from sheer boredom, the adjustment to a new routine away from her peers resulted in several meltdowns (hers and mine) over the course of last week. Needless to say, we were both looking forward to her first day of day camp at Camp Teko. She woke up bright and early, raring to go. We got her to the bus stop at 8:45, said our good-byes, and went our separate ways. Fast forward to 3:50 pm....back at the bus stop to pick her up. She was all smiles coming off the bus, chattering about all of the details of her amazing first camp experience. She got to go kayaking, which she described as being "like the bumper boats at the fair." She went on a speed boat with her group, and they even braved the cold waters of Lake Minnetonka to do a water treading test. She made a bracelet and did a leaf project in art. They sang a lot of songs, but she couldn't remember the words yet. She is definitely a happy camper once again....and so am I!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sugar and Spice

Thought it was time Ava got a little press coverage. As is the case in most households with more than one child, the older siblings' schedules tend to set the rhythm of family life, and the younger ones hop on board the ride already in motion. Fortunately for us (and her!), Ava is a fairly mellow, even-tempered child who pretty much finds her sync wherever she goes. She is 32 months old now, and is mostly sugar, with more and more spice added as the days go by. We know that, while challenging at times for us, this is good for her.

An example of how she is exerting her own independence occurred the other morning. She told me she wanted to play outside, but it was raining, so I explained to her we had to wait for the sun to come out and dry the grass. Apparently that answer did not satisfy her. She had another solution in mind and proceeded downstairs, wearing only her shirt and diaper, to put on Maya's rain boots and head towards the door!

Debut Performance

Yesterday, Maya had her debut performance at Eden Prairie High School Center for the Performing Arts. Grandma Judy and Grandpa Doot were able to come up to witness our little star being born. She did VERY well and has come a long way with dance this year. She was proud to receive a "good practice" award, and her teacher commented to us that she was so grateful for Maya knowing the dances so well....she kept the other girls in line, knowing what steps came next, and pretty much stayed with the beat of the musi c (though she was sometimes AHEAD of the music...but that pretty much defines her....a little off beat and always a step ahead of where she is supposed to be! ;-)

Congratulations on your first stage performance, Maya! We love you and are very proud of you!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The countdown is on! 40 'til 40

It's official: My husband has 40 days left of life in his 30's. On July 13, he will round the corner to the big 4-0. I have little surprises planned each day until then, all of which will be followed by a much needed trip for the two of us to a Sandals resort in Jamaica for the week of July 13-20, which will be a great way for him to begin his next decade, don't ya think?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Is that a confession?

Well, it was another beautiful weekend here in Minnesota, so we decided once again to venture outdoors. To take even one sunny, 80 degree day for granted here would just be blasphemous. After the Shabbat Sofit morning service, we took a 7 mile bike ride around Baker Park Reserve. We rented a Burley and took turns pulling the girls. (Mike did most of the uphill work, I will admit!) Then, we took the scenic route back to Excelsior, where we headed to the playground by the beach. We were curious to see how cold the water felt, so we put our toes in. Burrr!!! We guessed it was probably low 60s at best. (Later, we checked the Internet to find it registered in at 58 degrees.) But of course there were people bathing suits, not wet suits. (It is Minnesota, after all.) We played a bit, got some grub, then decided to take a boat ride on the Steamboat Minnehaha. I can't adequately describe what a gorgeous day it was, so just take a look at this shot I got from the boat:

Sunday afternoon was even warmer (low 80s) than Saturday, so we ventured back to Excelsior beach once again. This time, Maya was determined to go swimming. We warned her about the temperature of the water, but she remained adamant. So we decided to let the kids wear their suits; we would bring their sand toys and at least sit on the edge of the water and build a sand castle. Once Maya put her foot in the water, we thought, she would learn for herself that the water was too cold for a swim. When we got to the edge of the water, she put her feet in, hesitated a moment, donned her goggles and dove right in!

Oh, to be young again, Michael and I mused. When we were six, frigid water wouldn't have kept us from swimming, either, if we really wanted to do it.

But, it appears, even childhood fantasies have their limitations when the truth is told. Last night, when we put Maya to bed, we said prayers and asked her the usual four questions before tucking her in:

  1. What are you thankful for today? I am thankful for going to Lake Minnetonka again!

  2. Who did you help today? I helped you by picking up my pretend carnival in the basement. (That's an entirely different story!)

  3. Who helped you today? You helped me by taking me to Lake Minnetonka.

  4. What did you learn today? I learned that it is still too cold to swim in Lake Minnetonka!

And there you have it, folks....straight from the horse's mouth!