Sunday, September 20, 2020

Back To School Part Two!!

 So tomorrow is back-to-school.  Parte Dos.  La segunda parte.  Encinitas Unified School District is opening up for the Hybrid Model as of tomorrow, September 21st.  I am actually surprised we are able to move forward with it after big gatherings over Labor Day weekend and a few other school districts returning to in-person recently, not to mention the universities and the big Covid outbreak at SDSU. we are!  The kids are pretty excited about it, though they will only go Monday & Wednesdays and most of their friends somehow got the Tuesdays/Thursdays time slot.  In the end, you can only socialize with your cohort, which is the 12 or so students in your class.  You learn with them, eat lunch with only them, have recess with only them, etc.  So, while it's more socializing than they get with full distance learning, it is still very limited.  Either way, they/we are excited for this next step!  

I had to go school supply shopping and the "back-to-school" sections at Target and Dollar Tree were sooo limited, and mostly taken over by Halloween items at this point.  So that was interesting.  There is no sharing of pencils/markers/glue or anything at all, so each student needs to bring in their own supplies.  Also, instead of back-to-school clothes shopping, we did back-to-school mask shopping.  The district also send out plenty of videos for the kids to watch on "how to properly wear your mask" and "how to wash your hands", etc.  I think we are ready!   The one item of "clothing" we did have to purchase was shoes.  I realized the kids have either been barefoot or in flip-flops for the past 6 months...and none of their pre-pandemic sneakers fit!  

School at home.  The boys are in the same class and here they are 
"doing school" on their iPad.

Uncle Hale's last night in San Diego

Eli & Hale 

Belching Beaver Brewery 
First restaurant visit for all of us together.  It was all outdoors and very socially-distanced.  
Great setup there!

2 mile walk to and from coffee on Hale's last morning here.

After being in San Diego since mid-March,  it was time for Hale to move on to the next chapter.  It was so fun to have him here.  The kids have never had an uncle live nearby and they LOVED it.  They wanted him to come up and visit every weekend.  Once we combined our social circles he did visit a lot.  We were able to do pool days, beach days, birthdays, camping and a sailing trip in the short time he was here so definitely many memories were made.  We were sad to see him go but feel grateful that he is able to be in Richmond helping my parents out during this next week when they will both be having surgeries/procedures.  

Lounging around playing iPad games.

The library opened for in-person visits! 
So exciting to get some new reading material!

Ella & Mom date night.
Pizza, fro-yo, and watching "Babe" & painting toenails.
Fun night! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

So Long Sweet Summer Break!

 Well, here we are on week 2 of school already, believe it or not.  The summer break, while welcomed more than any other summer break of my life, was short and sweet.  It was SUCH a relief to take a break from the day to day grind of distance learning in the Spring.  It had been a pretty terrible experience.  No one knew what they were doing, so I don't blame the teachers (for the most part, but that's another story).  No one was prepared to be thrust into the throes of teaching from afar and on one was prepared to be expected to learn that way, either.  The teachers were inaccessible, unavailable (some more than others) and just throwing worksheets and heavy assignments at us.  Oh, and all in Spanish, mind you.  That was the icing on the cake.  The stale, crumbling and mold-ridden cake.  

Okay, I'm done being dramatic.  Life has moved on.  We in no way could have imagined back on Friday the 13th of March, when school in-person suddenly came to a screeching halt, that the doors of these institutions would STILL be shut over 5 months later.  But here we are.  Back to school looked very different this year.  We didn't have to buy backpacks, I'm not having to pack lunches (hip-hip-hurray!), I have all my babies safe and under my roof....AND the teachers are so far doing a phenomenal job with their jobs.  They are actually TEACHING this time around!  Yes, there are plenty of Zoom meetings and it's not ideal for the kids...but it is soooo much better than last April-June that I'll take it over that experience any way.  That said, we are only on week 2 so the more challenging work hasn't quite started yet.  That will be when things get a bit more intense I can imagine.  




Summer Chloë 

School Chloë

Trying to get a workout in on my bike while Ella is in class (this lasted one day...haven't worked out since)

Eli's desk (in the tv room) 

Chloë at the kitchen table- she now has a desk 

Owen's desk (in the living room) 

Ella's desk (in the guest room)

Ice Cream treat time! 

We bit the bullet...we now have a giant 15 passenger Ford Transit and are ready for beach days galore.
We can fit everything right in.  It's perfect (we have taken out 5 of the seats).  

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

May Birthday Boys

Eli & Owen are NINE

I've behind on updates, as usual.  I was thinking I would have a lot more time to post and share but the distance-learning at home with 4 kids in 3 different grades in a language that I'm NOT fluent in was tough, to say the least.   When momma is stressed, everybody is stressed!  It wasn't good for anyone and someone was in tears at some point nearly every day, no exaggerations.  Many of the times it was me.  However, WE SURVIVED and are now on summer break and life is SOOOO much more relaxed.

Owen and Eli turned 9 on May 16th.  The Corona birthday protocol seems to have been birthday drive-by's for the birthday child so I sent out texts to their buddies' parents and asked if they'd mind driving by at 10am on their birthday (which was a Saturday) to honk and wave as a surprise.  Well, their buddies did WAY more than that!  We had over 20 cars lined up and they all came by with music, banners, honks & waves, and gifts for the boys!  That part was totally unexpected and so generous.  The boys were on cloud 9.  They hadn't seen those kiddos in months and it was so special for them...Believe me, the love was felt :)

I was so worried they'd have a downer of a birthday being we were/are in the throws of covid and social-distancing but they both said it was one of their best birthdays ever.  Mom-win!

Decorated and ready for them to wake up

Birthday breakfast of the requested Monkey Bread

I didn't get too many pics of the parade but my neighbor got a video for us, fortunately!

Hale came up for the day for swimming and dinner.
Which was buttered bowtie pasta (Eli's pick) and homemade cheese enchiladas (Owen's pick).

They love Uncle Hale! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Feliz Dia de los Madres

Me and My Little 

My mind is partially in Spanish a lot of the time with the kids being home from school- I try to speak as much in Spanish as I can (and it's NOT a lot) in the day-to-day as, if not for this quarantine, they would be in their school immersion program and being exposed to the language most of the day. The loss of that is one of the biggest losses in their education right now, IMO (in my opinion).  I can only supplement so much.  I do my best.

Anyways, I had a wonderful Mother's Day and am so grateful for my kiddos...They started with breakfast in bed and a the special "coronavirus coffee"   check it out here: corona-coffee that I had been curious about.  It was really good!  

coffee treat

Giant yummy breakfast! 
(who says you can't eat good vegetarian and gluten free??!)

We then headed on a hike not far from us in the Olivenhain area of Encinitas.  Beforehand, Owen said, "I don't really want to go on a hike but since it's Mother's Day and you want to, I guess I will".  Haha.  Yes, you will.  It's MY day! Lol.  He later said, "This is the best hike I've been on."   Success.  Some pictures:

Spring bloom 

(Man-Made) Waterfall 

Crossing a log bridge (he fell in minutes later)

My Tween 

Not sure how this happened


Ella (she insisted on wearing her mask for most of the hike even though there was no one else around for the most part) 

My loves 

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

A Sad Goodbye to the BEST Dog in the World

2/27/07 - 5/2/20

Oh my sweet golden girl...I miss you more than I ever could have imagined.  I mean, I knew I would be sad and I knew pets don't live forever...but I just never imagined the emptiness I'd feel when you were left us.  You were more a part of our lives and my being than I even realized.  It has been less than 48 hours since we said goodbye so I know it's still "early" in the grieving process, but I just didn't know my heart would hurt like this.  

my co-pilot

We looked at pictures of you on a big slide show on the tv last night and there were over 700 photos and videos!  We didn't make it through all of them yet but it was so amazing to look back and see how you were there for EVERY. LITTLE. THING.  Every baby we brought home, you were right there in the action, greeting them and sniffing them and soon loving them...followed by putting up with them!  If we went on hikes, you came.  If we went to the beach and it was a dog-friendly spot, you came.  If we camped you came. If we went to a park, you came.  If I went on a run, you came (before you got older and couldn't run as much...and then not at all).  If we went on vacation and you could come, we brought you.  We never ever, not once, put you in a kennel or boarded you.  We never had to and I feel so lucky we didn' I would have worried about you the entire time.  You were used to being by our side and you were a true "velcro dog" (someone told us that term when you were a puppy and it is so were always stuck right to us.  I wouldn't want it any other way).  
You were so incredibly smart.  You would walk and carry your own leash.  As a puppy we trained you to nudge some jingle bells tied to a string by the door with your nose when you needed to go outside to the bathroom.  You quickly realized you could ring the bell any time you even just wanted to go outside at all...even if you didn't have to go to the bathroom.  When the bell was jingled, the door would open.  You LOVED to have a job and when we got the mail you made sure we let you have a piece to carry in so you could earn that treat.  Oh, you loved your treats!  When my mom would visit it was your special job to bring in the newspaper that she would have delivered.  You loved to be important and to earn those treats.  

You were THE BEST greeter ever.  The best guard dog ever, too.  Maybe not so much in the past year as your hearing seemed to seriously decline and you wouldn't hear the doorbell anymore.  Before that though, you would have thought a vicious Rottweiler was on the other side of our door if you rang our doorbell.  You would bark like crazy!  If people didn't know you they would be a bit hesitant to let you run up to them...I assured them that you were friendly. You always were.  Always greeting people who came.  As soon as you finished alerting us with barking, if the person came in you were quick to grab them a shoe or a sock or whatever you could find to bring to them as a welcome present.  Who doesn't love a good shoe, right?  That's what you must have thought.  Because of you, our shoes were always scattered about the house (can we really blame this on you?  I guess we will now see...).  If we were missing one half of a pair of shoes the first place we'd look is by the cabinet where your treats were stored.  At any given time there was 1-4 shoes without matches laying at the base of that cabinet.  "If I bring a shoe will I get a treat?".  It must have worked enough times that you thought so :). 

As a younger dog you loved to chase sticks. The bigger the stick the better.  We would go on hikes , find a stick, let you smell it and then chuck it FAR off into the bush and you would run and bound in and always would come back with that EXACT stick.  It was uncanny.  I don't know how you did it.  You would search until you found it...and I remember one or two times you where you were unable to find it and you did not want to leave that spot.  You would have continued searching until you found it ...but the hike had to go on.    

Oh, and the beach and swimming.  That was your HAPPY place unlike any other.  As soon as you would get out of the car at the beach you would BOLT for the ocean and no amount of calling or yelling your name would get you to stop.  This was the ONLY time that you didn't listen to us AT ALL.  You had no control when it came to the ocean.  You HAD to be in that water and you had to be there NOW.  You would swim and fetch your water toys for hours on end if we let you.  Then you'd take a break in the sand and dig crazy holes to lay in.  We had so many happy times at the dog beach in Ocean Beach together.  Swimming in the waterway that leads to the ocean together.  Of any place in the world that I would call as yours, it would be the beach & ocean.  

You seemed to sense human emotion and have a sense of sympathy empathy like many humans can't even grasp.  When I was pregnant with Chloe and had gotten some jarring news about her chances of survival (do to possible kidney issues in utero) I was devastated and scared.  You sensed it and you never left my side.  You laid with my while I cried and nuzzled me while I laid in fetal position not knowing what the future would mean for me or my first baby.  Chloe is fine...and in the end it is you that I lost to kidney problems.  

Your loyalty was unmatched.  Especially to me.  You wouldn't go downstairs in the morning until I went down.  I was your human mama.  Always will be.  You were my first dog & fur-baby.  Always will be.  If you happened to get locked out of the front gate you would just lay by it and wait for us to see you were there.  Never would you run away.  Always by our side...or lounging in some sunny spot.  Like your spot by the one-car garage door.  Or your grassy spot in the back.  Soaking up the rays on your golden coat.  You were a ray of sunshine yourself.  You had the best smile ever.  Especially in the mornings. You were loved by so many even outside our family.  People miss you.  Not just us.  I know we miss you the most though.  

That smile. That face. Such love.

Oh, we had the BEST times with you.  You lived an amazing life...but 13 years just wasn't enough for me.  I guess it was for you.  I know you were ready.  You had slowed down in the past year.  You didn't require or ask for walks as much.  You slept a lot.  You also now insisted on getting up on the couch with us (something we used to never allow but in the past months decided we wanted you up there with us...we knew you were more comfortable up there than on the hard floor).  I hope you weren't in too much pain in your final days.  I know you never let us know when you were in pain.  You hid it well.  So I can only hope you weren't suffering too terribly.  My hurt hearts to think that you could have been.   I have to find peace and comfort in the fact that you went peacefully.  That we all had the chance to say goodbye and pet and love on you in your final minutes.  Girl, I love you SO much and had no idea the hurt would be this big.  You were in my life for 13 fabulous years and I know that no other dog will ever replace what we were so lucky to have with you. Love to you my sweet pupsie-dog.  My "Kwals", my "Ky-Ky", "Kwalsie-Bear".  We will love you forever and never forget you.  

Cards & flowers from friends & neighbors

At the vet

True Love. Ella's First Love.

Part of the family. No doubt.

My favorite running partner of all time