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Olivia

Month 96 & 97

Dear Olivia,

You are 8 years old. Is there anything more frightening than that? Ok, 16 will be terrifying but I refuse to think that far ahead. 8 is a huge number although I feel this way with every passing birthday. You are the oldest in your class and I’m still very happy with that decision. You love school, you’re confident in your ability to learn new tasks and you seem emotionally capable to handle the onslaught of tests and demands that second grade thrusts upon you. From what little I remember from my own second grade experience, I remember just learning to read. Now in second grade, you’re pretty much expected to already know how to read and to read well. I was an anxious child and I was one of the youngest in my class. I suffered from anxiety when presented with tests and work in school. I didn’t realize it then but when a project or an activity was given to me that I deemed too difficult or confusing, I began to hyperventilate and eventually I would begin to cry. Kids would loudly announce, Jennifer is crying again! I even remember on a few occasions, teachers looking obviously annoyed that I was in tears yet again and they would walk over and say, why are we crying this time? Not exactly a nurturing environment to learn in. I don’t know if my age played a factor into this or whether my lack of preschool contributed or perhaps none of these things mattered. Perhaps I was just an anxious kid. I’m happy to see that you’re the exact opposite when it comes to school and learning.

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I don’t know why but this looks reminds me so much of Brian Fellows

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Miles, Travel, Family

Month 71 & 72, Version 2.0

Dear Miles,

I’m currently sitting alone in the kitchen basking in the glorious quiet that is currently enveloping the household. I do not hear siblings fighting. I do not hear the request for another snack. I’m not being berated with question after question about everything under the sun. The quietness feels so foreign to me but I accept it with open arms.

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Newsletter, Olivia

Month 94 & 95

Dear Olivia,

I find it odd that you don’t know how to play with toys. I watch you sit in front of your toys and arrange them in lovely displays but you don’t really interact with them. You love Legos but you build the sets and then place them on top of your shelf where they continue to stay until the dust overwhelms them or your brother becomes too heavy handed with them. In a time where the neighborhood social circle is dwindling and you find yourself once again as the only girl in the neighborhood, you have a lot of down time. These moments would be great if you knew how to interact with a toy.

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Miles

Month 69 & 70, Version 2.0

Dear Miles,

You’re officially in kindergarten! This should feel like a bigger milestone but I feel a bit robbed since you went to developmental kindergarten or also referred to as DKA or TK or my personal favorite, freedom. Last year felt like the big milestone because you transitioned from preschool a couple days a week to every day at a public school. This year just feels like a tease because for the second year in a row, you’re only in school for a mere 4 hours and to add insult to injury, you are released from school thirty minutes earlier this year compared to last year. True, you’re starting earlier and I no longer have to make a second trip to the school in the morning but still, I can’t even consume a half bottle of wine let alone eat a decent meal before I have to turn around and pick you up. Next year will be the milestone. Next year when you’re in school for a full day, I will be doing heel-clicks all the way up the hill to school. Until then, I will seek solace in the fact that at least I have my mornings to consume my Bloody Mary in peace.

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Parenthood, Olivia, Swimming, Adventures

Month 93

Dear Olivia,

These last four weeks of summer have been hard. I’m not sure if it’s a combination of not having a routine or you miss your friends or it’s your age or you’re just being an asshole but these first weeks of summer have been difficult for you. It seems like I can’t do anything right. One second you’re happy and then I enter a room and ask you to grab a sweater before we leave the house and you give me the glare of death. You would think by the complete look of disdain you are directing towards me that I just asked you to light your stuffed animals on fire. I find that if I really need to communicate to you or get a point across, I tell your dad and he relays that to you and then you listen. If I were to walk up to you and say the exact same thing, you would cross your arms and sigh in disgust. I wish it were acceptable to give you the finger sometimes.

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Miles

Month 68, Version 2.0

Dear Miles,

Summer is here which means I have two very bored children on my hands. Thank goodness I decided to join a cabana club (not as fancy as it sounds) because otherwise I wouldn’t know what to do with your energy. Boredom is good. Boredom is a right of passage. You and your sister are so bored, I often watch you two just wandering aimlessly, talking to yourselves. Summer of Awesome has officially returned after last year’s successful inaugural season but even with a list of fun outings and activities for us to do as a family, there is downtime and you and your sister struggle hard. Believe me, I like doing fun things and would love to spend the whole summer spending an endless amount of money on admission tickets, sugary snacks and other unnecessary items but I’m a grown up and we’re all boring with our boring grown up responsibilities. So as it stands, if we’re not at Olivia’s swim team practice, you’re at home complaining. I usually throw up my hands in parental defeat some time shortly after lunch and we embark for the swimming pool.

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Olivia

Month 91 & 92

Dear Olivia,

I would like to begin this month’s post by thanking you profusely for being such a great traveller on our trip to Europe. You really were quite the trooper when we embarked on our various journeys each day. I know the whole experience was a positive one for you because you have been talking about the trip just about every day since. When it’s sharing day at school, you bring something from the trip to share with your class. Most recently, you had to create a project for school that could be about anything. You decided to create a book about Amsterdam. Everything from the food to the buildings to the people, I smile every time I hear you reminisce about our trip. Sure, I have my own memories but it’s wonderful to hear it from your perspective. Could seven really be the magic age for travel or does it only get better from here? Or worse??

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An excerpt from your school project

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Plotting our next trip

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Miles

Month 66 & 67, Version 2.0

Dear Miles,

It’s the end of the school year which means I’m a crazy lady running around for all the school activities, sports, music, you name it. In addition, I’ve also started working again part-time so I’m a bit more frazzled than you’re used to. No? I’ve always been a walking trainwreck? When we returned from our trip to Europe, basically everything hit fast forward and although you probably don’t notice anything from your day-to-day life that consists of Legos and basketball, I can assure you that your Dad and I are feeling it.

Baseball season is wrapping up and once again you had an incredible season. You’re an extremely athletic child and never seem to have trouble picking up a sport and doing it well. You’re constantly trying to improve yourself and are always likely to be trying out some move you saw on television. We play catch constantly because if you’re bored and no friends are available to play, playing catch is your go-to activity. Well, that and basketball. You rocked first base this year and you were pretty confident in your ability compared to the majority of others. You proudly would display to whomever would look in your direction, the count on your hands of how many runners you got out at first. You were visibly upset the day you couldn’t show two hands worth of outs.

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We interrupt this baseball moment to strike a pose

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Catcher Miles

We went to Little League day again at the A’s stadium and it was loads better from last year’s experience. We walked the field and you had a chance to shake Khris Davis’s hand. Dad ripped your hat off your head and tried to have him sign it for you but the A’s staff around him was pretty adamant that we all keep it moving. You were a little confused by the whole experience but your dad and I thoroughly enjoyed the encounter. We had a lot of time to kill before the game so we walked through the stadium and allowed you and sister to have a go at the batting cage. Sure enough, you hit the bullseye with your hit and won an adult XL shirt. You will be able to proudly enjoy your shirt in thirteen years. A few of your teammates were also at the stadium so you had fun sitting with them and stealing each other’s snacks. The party got a little crazy when a couple of your teammates started removing articles of clothing. All in the name of boyhood, right?

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Walking the field

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Future right fielder

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Teammates

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Owning the batting cage

Basketball is another sport that you have surprisingly embraced. Perhaps there is some influence from our Warriors doing well and everybody talking about them or maybe it’s from your days playing on the Junior Warriors basketball league. No matter the reason, you are obsessed. Whether you’re playing basketball with the small hoop that hangs off the back of your bedroom door, or the Little Tikes plastic hoop or a planter, if you’re not playing baseball, you most likely have a basketball in your hand. Most of your fashion now consists of pulled up athletic socks with giant basketball shorts. Damn, I miss the days when I had a say in your fashion attire. My favorite outfit by far is your athletic socks, basketball shoes and the conservative chino shorts. You really walk the fine line between genius and hobo.

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The saddest basketball hoop there ever was

Last weekend, we had a little downtime on the weekend which is shocking because I feel those are as elusive as a purple unicorn. I’ve always wanted to go to the Maker Faire in the south bay but every year, something is always happening on the same weekend so I never get to go. I was determined to take full advantage of our spare time and make it once and for all. We arrived and this faire is very popular, so popular that we had to park in a residential neighborhood and walk at least twenty minutes to the entrance. The cost to get in was ridiculous (think price of an amusement park) and the people, oh goodness, so many people. Your Dad doesn’t handle crowds at all so he immediately became bitter. Once I was able to get everyone feed and liquored up (Ryan) we were able to walk through and do some exploring. I’ll admit that most of the booths were geared for older kids so despite paying the exorbitant fee, there wasn’t much that captured yours and Olivia’s interest. The highlight of the faire was hands down the bowling and the amazing custard/ice cream combo we devoured. Well, the rest of us devoured it while you insisted on slurping yours with a teeny tiny tea spoon. Even though you wore more that you ate, you seemed to enjoy it.

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We returned from the maker faire and stopped in at a new comic book store in Pleasanton after Olivia asked if she could get one after enjoying a few at school. Dad jumped at the opportunity to show you all the comic books he knows and loves. You probably weren’t as excited as Dad would have hoped but you took your time perusing the store until you found issue 1 and 2 of XMen. Afterwards, we walked a few businesses down to a new family-friendly beer garden. Did I mention it’s family friendly and they serve beer? We were all pretty exhausted from our long day so we sat back and relaxed as you and Olivia read your comics and Dad and I enjoyed a well-deserved beverage.

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Happiness

When we finally made it home, I was ready for you two to turn it so I could finally put my feet up and relax. You and Olivia were playing in the backyard as I was preparing your bath. I had called you in to go first when you decided to throw your shoes down right next to the shelf where we put our shoes. I asked you to pick up your shoes and put them where they belong. With a long sigh and a toss of your head, you threw your weight forward where I heard a loud crack against the staircase bannister. You lifted your head up and right in the middle of your forehead was a nice slice. You started crying and immediately, the blood started pouring out of the cut. I took a closer look at it and you managed to cut it good and deep. I’m not one to panic but I was fairly sure this would require stitches. I ran to the backdoor trying not to get blood everywhere and I yell to Olivia to get Dad. He comes rushing in and I tell him everything that has just happened. I run upstairs to change because I thought I was ten minutes away from a couch vacation. I hurry back downstairs, prepared to whisk you away to urgent care when Dad begins to argue his case against stitches.

It’s a Saturday night so he knows I’m going to be in urgent care for hours and we have private insurance which means it doesn’t cover anything so most likely, these three stitches will cost us hundreds of dollars. He’s adamant he can fix this with Neosporin and butterfly bandages. I’m irate because I truly believe you need stitches and your dad isn’t supporting me in my belief. I eventually gave in and allowed your Dad to play doctor. I went to bed that night angry and worried. We’ve since removed the bandages and you will most likely have a fabulous scar but you survived to tell the tale and I have a few extra hundred dollars in my pocket. Clearly, I’m not entirely over it as last night I had a dream that your cut started bleeding again and when I touch it, it opened up to show a hollow head with a single bone. Brainless and wounded–my subconscious doesn’t think highly of you.

Parenthood is an ever evolving job. One job that I continue to struggle with. It’s difficult when you talk to me in questions and I end up screaming at you because I have no idea why you continue to do so. You’re in the “what if” stage which by the way, nobody warned me at all about. Basically, any idea that pops in your head you ask a “what if” question and they’re completely absurd but you’ll continue to ask until we answer. When our answers aren’t sufficient, you continue to ask more questions. It’s a vicious cycle and more times than not, I find myself utterly exhausted. I’ll give you an example of what I’m dealing with:

You: “What if black birds flew on a Tuesday?”
Me:  “All birds fly on Tuesdays.”
You: “No, no. I’m talking about black birds.”
Me:  “All birds, regardless of color or species, fly on Tuesdays.”
You: “But what if they have tiny feet? Do they still fly on Tuesday?”
Me: “GOOD GOD, BOY! YES, EVEN BIRDS WITH SMALL FEET. ALL THE BIRDS FLY. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. AHHHHH!”
You: “What if black birds fly on Thursdays?”
Me: **Turns car into head-on traffic.

And people ask us why we drink.

Love,

Momma

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copenhagen buildings
Travel, Adventures

#ostockdamhagen16 Part 5: Copenhagen

After the amazing week we had in Amsterdam, we said our farewells and departed for Copenhagen. We had another late flight but we remembered the Amsterdam airport having plenty to do so we decided to arrive a bit early and to do a little last minute souvenir hunting. By this time, my head cold was killing me so I was hopeful I would be able to find some much needed relief from a pharmacy or other drugstore type store in the airport.

I did find a drugstore but unfortunately, everything was in Dutch. I asked the employee for help and unlike the all purpose symptom medicine we have here in America, all I could find was a pill or a nasal spray that treated each symptom. Somehow I ended up with a box of 64 pills for a cough (that I didn’t even have)–a pill that I had to take every 2 hours! Since we were really only planning to be in Copenhagen for one full day, I decided just to do my best to push through and enjoy myself the best I could.

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