Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall is in the house

I just couldn't help myself. The weather cooled off a few degrees today and I found myself lugging out the two large boxes of fall decorations. It is officially autumn, even if it doesn't feel like it. After dinner, I decorated the house for the harvest season. Fall may not be in the air, but it is definitely in my house.

The Long Day Series #1: Got Sand?

Got Sand?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I am not a beach person. I grew up in a big city with a lot of asphalt. There are no beaches in Phoenix and therefore no sand to get in-between my toes or--heaven forbid--inside my purse or backpack.

Then I moved to Southern California, just a dozen miles from the coast. Over the past 16 years, I've tried to embrace the idea of sand. For years I joined friends at the beach every Sunday afternoon. I would pack my beach bag, grab my chair and head to the seashore. I would unfold my chair and ever-so-carefully set it in the sand and then gently place my beach bag beside it. I would keep my bag zipped at all times, only opening it to retrieve a magazine or towel or snack. I was very careful to not get sand on my body as well, except for my feet of course. If there was a way to keep sand off of my feet, I would have done that, too.

I'm not bothered by the water, though. I like the water. I love the water. I've always enjoyed swimming--in pools or lakes or the deep ocean. It's just the sand I have a problem with. The gritty, microscopic sand.

Well, today was one of those days where I embraced the sand. Eric and the girls went on a half-day fishing trip. I opted to stay on the beach and have some much-needed " mom time" while they fished on the boat. I brought some books, magazines, my Bible and a notebook. I was set. I waved good-bye to the family as they motored out into the ocean. Then I chose a shady spot at the very edge of the beach, far from the water, careful not to get too much sand on my feet. I was set! Then it happened. As I was watching the boat go further out to sea, a guy walked up to me and struck up a conversation. He was a volunteer with the Ocean Conservancy and today just happened to be the California Coastal Cleanup Day. Being a remote Beach, no one had shown up to help pick up trash. For the next hour--glove on one hand and trash and recycling bags in the other--I not only got sand in-between my toes, but tar all over the bottoms of my bare feet. Because the sun was barreling down on me, I also found myself jumping in the ocean for a swim. Now my whole body had little grains of sand on it. It wasn't exactly what I'd planned to do with my morning, but it was a lot of fun. The fishing on the boat was good, too, so I still had a few more hours to myself to read and write.

When my family finally returned, with 137 pounds of  rock fish, Amber asked me to go boogie-boarding with her. I obliged. We swam, rode the waves, tumbled on top of each other and practically covered ourselves in sand! Riding a wave all the way to the shore means you will likely end up on the beach, in the sand. And we did! And we had a blast! And I realized that there was life after sand.

My boogie-boarding adventure was cut short, however, when a wave blind-sided me and I slammed my foot against a rock that was hidden by the tide. I broke my pinkie toe and spent the rest of the time sitting on my board on shore and watching Amber have fun. Soon she joined me and we played in the sand together. Eric and Autumn arrived shortly thereafter, and we all spent the remaining minutes at the beach building sand castles.

It was a fun day and I got one step closer to enjoying the sand. I was still careful when I packed up my chair and belongings, making sure none of the beautiful sand made it back to my house. After all, we want the sand to be there the next time we visit the beach. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The top and bottom

At the dinner table tonight, Amber asked an interesting question. (I don't even remember what the question was, but that doesn't matter.)

I said, "Where did you come up with that?"

She said, "Just off the top of my head."

I replied, "As opposed to the bottom of your head."

Amber said, "Well, the bottom is where I think stuff up and the top is where I ask."

She went on to say, "Sometimes things just stay on the bottom and never come up to the top."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

First weeks of school

First Day of School. I now teach 1st and 4th grades.

Autumn working on her letters.

Our first craft of the school year: making bird feeders.

Take a pine cone, attach a piece of string to the stem, spread peanut butter all over it, roll it in birdseed and hang it up outside.

It was fun to look out the window and catch a bird eating from one of these feeders.
History "class" with some friends. My friend, Lori, and I are using the same history curriculum, so she offered to get together every other week to review the lessons and make a related craft.

Lori did an amazing job making this map! The kids loved getting together to review what they've been studying at home and make a craft together. History is still Amber's favorite subject.

First day of art class with their teacher, Miss Rie. She's been coming to our house for more than a year to teach Amber art. Now Autumn is a student, too.

Amber the Artist!

First field trip: Butterfly Exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. For a long time, I have wanted to go to this exhibit that happens only once-a-year.

Amber examining one of the hundreds and hundreds of butterflies we saw.

Autumn getting up close and personal with a Queen butterfly.

Amber has a "eye for beauty."

Amber with her reading tutor, Miss Joanne, and two students from class. The field trip was set up by Joanne.

What a beauty! I will never tire of taking pictures of my girls.

Here, froggie, froggie

There's a frog in one of the cabinets in the kitchen. I've narrowed it down to two places, but every time I get close, he stops croaking. When the croaking ceases for good, then I'll have a real problem! Pee-hew!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Long Day

This morning we woke up at 6:30, headed out the door an hour later, and drove way up the coast for a family day of fishing on the boat and boogie boarding on the beach. I could write at least three stories (which I plan to do soon) about our adventure. Until then, here's the highlights of our long day.

~ We got a flat tire on our boat trailer on the way up. (We were just outside of Ojai.) Ten minuted later, we were on the road again.


~ Eric, the girls and Taylor (he lives with us) caught 137 pounds of  rock fish! I stayed on the beach and caught up on reading.

~ I broke my little toe while boogie boarding. (Yes, I really broke it.) My foot slammed up against a big, hidden rock as I attempted to ride a wave in.

~ On the way back, about 30 minutes from home, we ran out of gas. (It wasn't Eric's fault, but that's another story.) I walked with the girls three blocks with a broken toe to a coffee shop while Eric got the truck running again.

~ Sitting outside of coffee shop, we met a homeless man, bought him food and talked with him for awhile.

~ Also while at the coffee shop (we were there two hours), we saw our friends who were meeting family for a birthday celebration at a nearby restaurant. They went across the street and bought us some dinner and brought it back to us so we wouldn't miss seeing Eric when he drove by.

~ Eric slipped while working on the car and has a big, purple bruise on his knee to match the purple bruise on my toe. 

~ Despite, and even because of the events listed above, we had a fun day. We witnessed God's hand and His protection in so many ways today. I am excited to write some stories. But first I must get some sleep. It's been a long day!

Monday, September 3, 2012

September Rain?

It's raining in Ojai. Well, sprinkling anyway. Weird. And we're off to a barbecue. Happy Labor Day!