Every year at this time the jacaranda trees in Los Angeles start to bloom. They only last for a couple of months, but while they’re in blossom the city is peppered, everywhere you look, with beautiful purple trees. They start to emerge slowly – one here, one there – then they’re all over the place, and finally around mid-July they start to fade and disappear for another year.
To celebrate this lovely cycle, the boys and I play a car based game called “Jacaranda!”* It entails looking out for the purple trees and yelling out “Jacaranda!” the second you see one. Whoever has seen the most by the time we get to our destination wins. It sounds ridiculous, but I like the game for a few reasons:
- It encourages the boys to take notice of nature and appreciate it’s ebbs and flows.
- It motivates Miles to sit up and pay attention to what’s going on around him – a subtle reminder that there’s more to life than baseball and Minecraft.
- It inspires lots of silliness and laughter and playful arguments about who saw what tree first.
Really, it’s a very basic game, with a very basic premise, but it adds a layer of fun to our usual errand runs and school drops and who can’t use a little more of that in their day?
*Note: This game is also played from the end of November to the end of December, but during that time it’s called “Christmas Lights!”
Miles, age 6. Summer’s end…
This picture makes me smile and think of the end of summer. One early September weekend I was hanging in our backyard, sitting on a blanket, reading a magazine and enjoying the sun. Miles decided that he wanted to join me and proceeded to bring out all the things he thought he “needed” while he hung out. I love what he chose:
Two books – one to read, one as a table.
One Power Ranger
His keyboard – for impromtu tunes
The plant purchased at the flower mart the day before – he named him “Justin”.
We were both so content – Miles peacefully playing with his trucks while I read. It was such a pretty afternoon and together we indulged in the last of the sunny warm long-days before fall.
Two peas in a pod, Finley and Clover. I am always touched by their twin relationship. I love this moment of them by the pool. Swimming is still one of their favorite activities. Sometimes it’s hard to remember them at this age. When ever we do our Flash back Friday’s of our kids it takes me forever to pick a picture because I spend hours just looking at old photos! I get swept up in seeing them when they were little. So there they are, happy by the water, happy by each other’s side.
Claudia and Dilyn, WCM
Here’s a picture of Rob and me on a rare weekend alone. We went to Santa Barbara for his birthday a few years ago and had SUCH a fun time! We stayed at the lovely Canary Hotel downtown and went on the hokey-sounding, but totally fun, Grapeline Wine Tour. It was an absolutely perfect get-away. In the rat-race of parenthood, it’s a huge treat to be able to just be a “couple” as opposed to a “family” for a day or two and be reminded why you made that family in the first place!
A year after Jordan and I got married we went on a trip to the south of France. We stayed in the small town of Bonnieux. It was everything you think of when you imagine the south of France. Fields of lavender, old castles, great wine and fresh delicious food. We had such an a amazing time and I’m so grateful we got to take a trip like that before we had kids. Just us doing what ever we wanted, when ever we wanted.
Claudia and Dilyn. WCM
picture’s my daughters drew of our family and a rainbow
Seemingly out of the blue recently there has been a lot of questions from my kids about dating, marriage and babies. My daughters both asked me in the last week if I wanted another baby. I had to temper my gut response which would have been, “GOOG GOD NO!!!” – To a calm, “No, I have three wonderful babies that need all I have to give and that’s enough for me.” My son asked me tonight if I said yes to his father the first time he asked me out. That was an easy one, “yes I did”. And Clover asked me today when did I know I wanted to marry her daddy? I told her, “I think I knew I wanted to marry daddy after we had been dating for about six months, but he waited to ask me until we had been together a year.” Maybe it’s not so out of the blue considering on the 31st of this month we will celebrate 13 years of marriage! It’s like they instinctually know. I always tell people that I feel that ten years into marriage, kids and life this is where the rubber meets the road. This is where you have to keep both feet in and stand committed. Committed to the life your’e actually living, to the actual person who’s sleeping next to you, not the one you thought they would be. The one now in this real version of life, as opposed to the fantasy one in your head. You know the one I’m talking about. Oh and guess what he’s got a fantasy too, but your both here with your kids, your circumstances, your house and your choices. It’s real and it’s complicated. There are a lot of times in marriage that are hard, really hard and I say this realizing full well that in my young marriage there is probably more ups and downs to come. All I know is that after 13 years I still like the person I sleep next to. He makes me very angry sometimes, but so does life, my kids and people in general. I respect him, I think he’s courageous and willing. Sometimes he’s a little slow at getting what I think he needs to get, but that’s not really my job to make him get anything. He’s kind and has a good heart. He still really makes me laugh too. That’s huge, I don’t think we would have made it this far with out a sense of humor or willingness. Being Willing to grow and change. While showing up for each other over and over and over again.
Here I am (Dilyn) with some groovy sunglasses thinking I’m fresh. (yeah I said it -“groovy “and “fresh”. I know those words date me but so do the pictures). These were taken in Palm Springs around my birthday and I think I was like 6 or 7 years old. And call me crazy but I think that is a tube of Bain De Soleil on the table by the book. If you are not old enough to know what Bain de Soleil is you are missing out!
And below is me (Claudia) when I was about 3, also in Palm Springs.
The first shot cracks me up because I look like I’m taking the whole sunglasses/lunchbox thing very seriously, but the second one seems to say “Hahaha! I was just kidding about that serious stuff – let’s have a party!” Which is pretty much how I still handle things to this day.
Dilyn and Claudia, WCM