Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Monterey 2016

Monterey 2016 with both children was a smashing success. Both children traveled well, ate quietly in restaurants without our undivided attention, and adapted to new placed with appropriate timidity and excitement. 

Padaro Beach Grill outside Carpenteria: hamburgers, fish and chips, and some digging in the sand, chasing birds, and one unexpected train horn that brought a frightened Rose to tears.
Cambria Pines Lodge and Moonstone Beach: a small hut made of driftwood that Rose particularly liked. She gathered smooth weather-worn twigs to light her own cooking fire within and make soup for the family. I wish I could say the excitement put the children to bed early, but they were awake until Phil and I went to bed. I suppose their shared bed was too interesting for sleep. Plus, Rose slipped off our ice chest and hit her chin on the tile sink while brushing her teeth. She bit her tongue through on one side and merely punctured it on the other. We held her over the sink until the bleeding stopped and after some ice and Baby Einstein, she was her chipper self again. Phil and I were both surprised that the healing sores on her tongue didn't interfere with her regular eating habits at all.

 Cambria Pines Lodge complimentary breakfast outside in the garden house. The children explored the gardens, wandering from one bubbling fountain to the next and exclaiming wildly at the numerous lantern path lights that lit the way at dusk. In these unfamiliar locations, Rose craved frequent cuddles.

Pacific Grove: Ed and Barb Dickenson made us feel right at home, especially as they'd just had their own grandkids over to stay a few weeks earlier. They had books, an inflatable mattress for Rose, stuffed animals, an antique buggy and cradle for dolls, Lincoln Logs and Tinkertoys, a backyard garden and playhouse, and a synthetic front lawn for somersaults. The children were never at a loss for what to do. Uncle Ed and Aunt Barb even watched the children one evening so Phil and I could dine at the Beach House at Lover's Point.

Terri packed each of the children a bag of things to do in the car. The sticker books kept them busy at one restaurant. The bubbles were great fun in the humid weather, though I should mention, it never got warmer than 75 degrees. Most mornings we were in pants and long sleeves.
 Beach along 17-Mile Drive: The waves go boom!
 And splash!
 Phil took up rock stacking, which was tricky when the children enjoyed toppling them over.
 One tired Rose ready to be carried home in the toddler backpack. Again, we hoped the long day would make for a good night's rest, but the thrill of a new place trumped the sleepiness and after much giggles and scoldings and getting out of bed, the children finally went to sleep.

Point Lobos: a $10 entrance fee was worth the parking next to our trailhead. The children were thrilled to lead the way down the trail, through the cypress forest, along the craggy shoreline, and down the wooden steps along the pathway. Phil was quite pre-occupied with filming the ocean swells through binoculars that Ed and Barb lent us.

 Denise the Menace Park, Monterey: Some unique slides, a rope bridge, cement tunnels, a real train, climbing wall, and lake with paddle boats. Rose was feeling unwell and asking to go home this morning so we got her some tylenol and she was ready for action by late morning.

 Cypress Point Beach: We discovered this beach on the way back from Point Lobos yesterday and so we returned to it a few days later with Ed and Barb. Relatively uncrowded with a sandy slope for rolling and getting sand into every dark crevice of the body, tame waves, a delightful selection of shells, seaweed, and rocks.

 Monterey Bay First Awakenings: Another easy dining experience with the children. I brought along some play dough-like putty that kept the children busy until our pancakes, eggs, and sausage came. The children relished their OJ and the front of their sweatshirts enjoyed it too.
 Monterey Bay Aquarium: there aren't words enough to describe the children's awe at seeing the sea creatures. Lee particularly like the sharks and sting rays. Things of danger.

 Rose was a bit timid to touch the Decorator Crabs in the touch pools, but she did like dipping her fingers in the water. I am always impressed with the friendly and helpful the aquarium attendants.

Hanging on the poles to keep children back from the Sea Kelp display was more interesting than the fish here.
On the last night of the trip, Ed and Barb surprised Phil with an exceptionally delicious cake and presents for his birthday. We lit candles and the children helped me carry in the cake to a very unsuspecting-suspecting Phil. After cake, we packed the car and headed out, hoping the children would fall asleep within the hour for a long, peaceful, silent drive home. I guess we hadn't learned from our past experiences yet. The kids stayed awake for 2-3 hours requesting frequent potty breaks, snacks, entertainment, and wetting themselves in their car seats until it was very dark and very past their bedtime, and Mommy was very cranky. But after they went to sleep, Phil and I got our coffee and listened to Pride and Prejudice until an early morning hour when we pulled into our cozy little home ready to sleep in our cozy little beds.

This vacation was made possible by Ed and Barb Dickenson and Gretchen and Kirk Stevens, without whom everyone would've stayed home and twiddled their thumbs for five days.

Friday, August 19, 2016

What They Say

Lee: This is where your boat goes, right? What else? We need a stuffed animal or two pillows? Look there’s two pillows over there. You gonna grab one? This is where we sit and watch the baby sleep. I sit here. I’m the guard. And this is where you sleep. You’re the guard? You picked your favorite book out? You’re taller than me? Rosie, look it. I’m taller than you. You have to put your knees like me. Crash. I almost hit your baby.

Rose: Be careful don’t hit my baby.

L: I’m going to get my stuffed animal and a lot, a lot of blankets. Hey Rosie, I got some blankets. Wheeooo. Wheeooo. There. Bebe. The baby is awake, but don’t wake her up because she is scared of the sharks. Please hold the baby, Rose. She’s afraid of the sharks.

R: This is our baby.

L: Nobody else can hold the baby or they chop their heads off. If someone chops this baby off, we’ll throw a rocket on them and get hurt and bam right in the nose. Owww, that gonna hurt.

R: See that bug bite?

L: I’m gonna put some medicine, Rosie.

R: You be right back? Some medicine. 

L: Right there, Rosie?

R: Yes.

L: Shhhooop. Up oh! This is a crockerdial. I accidentally put a crockerdial on your bug bite. He accidentally hit his head on the bottom of the well. Crash. Hey, watch this Rosie. I’m going to jump over the crockerdial.

R: I’m going to put the baby in her little crib.

L: I’m bringing the piece of wood for a fire.

R: No! My legs are there. No! The baby is crying.

L: No, Rose. This is to keep the crockerdials from biting her. Don’t boom this over. This is where the baby sleeps. I’m going to sit on this. This is a different island and you can come on it. See, it doesn’t fall.

R: No I don’t want to.

L: You don’t want to break your head open on the sharks?

R: No, I’m going to take my little baby off to the bedroom.

L: Mommy, I lost my Rosie.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Unselfish Way

The thing about unselfish people is that they act without thought of self-sacrifice. They also don’t keep running accounts of what is owed to them for their performances. For example:

“I always remember my siblings’ birthdays, but they rarely return the gesture and if they do, they give me something that shows their utter lack of understanding my tastes.”

“There! I have removed that towering bougainvillea vine and repaired my side of the fence. The least my neighbors can do is stop their dog from barking all night.”

"They'll never know how much I've forgiven them."

“I'll leave that mountain of dishes and laundry incomplete so he'll know just how impossible it is do get anything done with kids.”

"Actually, yes. What you did years ago hurt me a lot. I'm glad you're finally asking me for forgiveness."

“I have comforted you all day. Can’t you give me one night’s sleep!?”

Rather, unselfish people simply do what needs to be done because they believe it is their job or duty or calling. Anger is no longer their prevailing emotion when answering the baby’s midnight cries or picking up the husbands’ socks or scrubbing burnt food off the bottom of a pot.

Should someone notice and comment on such acts of self-sacrifice, the unselfish person merely shrugs. “Well, of course I do it. It’s my job.” Now, while this could mean, “I must do it for I have no other option,” I rather mean it to mean, “It is what is required of me today.” And God never asks us to do more than we are able.

The other day in my fellowship group, the leader asked, “What have you given up in order to have children?” Where should I start? I wondered.  Ummm everything: a great amount of time and freedom, sleeping in, and quiet evenings, the ability to get things done quickly, a clean house, frequent showers, extra storage space in the house, etc. 

But what's the good of dwelling on what we’ve given up? Isn’t it a way of running up accounts that will disappoint me later in life when my adult children don't give back to me as I think I am owed. I don’t know that we should dwell upon any sacrifice that was made. It has gone up in smoke. It's dead. It should be underground.

Something is decidedly lost when we continually fondle the dead, when we contemplate our self-sacrifice, or tally up what others owe us. 

Instead, the unselfish person scatters acts of service, touches of kindness or words of encouragement as readily as the wind blows the autumn leaves off a tree. It is the joy of grace’s freedom. The same kind of joy that fill us with wonder at a sunset or pastoral scene, but this kind of joy involves mankind. Frivolous spending of love without keeping records. That is the way of Christ. That is the unselfish way.