activities

OUR VISIT TO THE MONTEREY AQUARIUM.

over the weekend, dustin headed down to santa barbara for his lacrosse alumni weekend so as not to miss out on a getaway, i decided to take holden on a little trip of our own and so we headed down to the monterey aquarium with my mom.  holden hates (as in hates!!!  my kid and being confined just don't go together) the car, so making the two hour drive down to monterey was a big deal for us.  i'm not quite sure what i was expecting, but i just thought it was going to be bigger, or grander, or just something more.  i thought there would be killer whales or great whites or dolphins the way that the museum is hyped (am i thinking sea world?), but it was oddly similar to the (much smaller) sf aquarium by the bay or the scripps aquarium in la jolla.

holden's first reaction was amazement and for the first 15 minutes or so, he was completely mesmerized by the floor to ceiling tanks, pointing and oooing and aaahing over the brightly, colored fish that swam by.  but after the two hour drive and the 15 minutes of newness, my little wild child was ready to run free.  being veterans weekend, it was a pretty packed and there was no way i would be able to keep track of him in the crowds so i couldn't let him down and he was frustrated with being confined to the carrier or the stroller (i attempted both).

luckily the museum had an open balcony that looked out over the ocean and i spent the majority of my time playing chase with the little man outside.  we also spent quite a lot of time at the automatic hand sanitizer dispenser by the touch tanks that was just low enough for holden to reach (he's kind of obsessed with washing his hands).

i suppose the little man always finds a way to be entertained one way or another....even when it's what i least expect.

 

THE GREAT OUTDOORS.

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mama wore:  h&m scarf stolen from the hubby's closet (similar here), h&m free people oversized cardigan, f21 maxi dress (similar here or here), hunter boots

little man wore: baby gap peacoat (similar here), quicksilver thermal (similar here), walmart jeans from the girls section (similar here), thrifted rainboots

it rained today.  like really rained.  and i think it's one of the first few times that holden has really experienced a heavy rain since we haven't had any since last year when he was a little too young to really get it.  and despite the fact that we both have colds, i couldn't help but pull on our rain boots, some warm sweaters and head outside to splash in the puddles, collect brightly colored leaves, and feel the rain pelting into our palms.

before holden, i wasn't really an outdoorsy girl.  to give you an example of my distaste for dirt, insects, and the like...one of the first couple of of times my in-laws met me, they were redoing part of their backyard for a party they were throwing for dustin and despite the fact that everyone else was helping out in the garden, i asked if there was anything i could do indoors because i didn't like to get dirt under my nails.

but now, i find myself playing in mud and searching for spiders on a daily basis, and not minding it in the least.

i think there's something about having a boy that draws out the adventurer in you, something that brings out an innate desire to explore,

to experience free, un-restricted, child-directed play.

because i believe being outdoors is good for him.  it is a wonderful learning environment, it encourages creativity, and it is good for your health (particularly eyesight).

holden and i honestly spend about 99% of our day outdoors, whether it's climbing the jungle gym at the playground, collecting and sorting rocks on our walk, taking paper and crayons to the park, or coloring on the front step with some chalk.

do any of you mamas feel the same way about being outdoors with your little ones?

POMEGRANATE PICKING.

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over the weekend, we went pomegranate picking.  who knew there was such a thing, right?  ever since the first few days of fall (or at least the one or two days that it has felt like fall in california), i have been wanting to take holden to the apple orchard.  like i've mentioned before, i think it's important to teach our little ones where their food comes from and the leaves changing colors causes me to long for baked cinnamon apples, apple cider, and apple pie.  unfortunately, we couldn't find an apple orchard in our close proximity and didn't feel like driving a few hours in the car, so instead we stumbled upon a pomegranate orchard.  the woman at the orchard told us that the particular line of pomegranates they grew were 1500 years old, saying they had originated in the spot where they believed the garden of eden to be, and that the seeds had been smuggled into the us from persia ten years ago.  it was kind of a crazy story and the woman talked our ear off for the entirety of our visit, but she knew what she was talking about and helped us find the sweetest pomegranates we have ever tasted.  as we were leaving, holden climbed into the basket with all of our freshly picked pomegranates and refused to get out.  we had to postpone our departure for about ten minutes before he was willing to get out.  such a a character that kid...but i must admit, it did look kind of comfy.

SCENES FROM THE WEEKEND.

we spent almost every minute of this weekend outside enjoying the newly crisp and cool weather that finally made it way to california.  around this time of year, i almost can't stand to be indoors, finding the outside environment so invigorating and refreshing.  on saturday, we hung out at tilden park, a park so large that no matter how many times we've visited, we always end up discovering new places every time we go, where we rode the steam train, walked around one of the lakes, and went on the merry-go-round (holden's favorite).  on sunday, we went to a local street fair where we spent the majority of our time hiding leaves in the orange cones that were acting as blockades and digging rocks out of the planters lining the street (boys are funny).

holden seemed to be going through a little independent streak, wanting to walk on his own, eat on his own, and pretty much do everything on his own.  the kid that usually loves to hold hands and run down the path together, wriggled his hand out of my grasp every time and ran ahead of me.  although i expected to be a little heartsick when we reached this phase, i surprised myself in not feeling any bit of sadness over the whole not needing me as much and instead found myself feeling overwhelmed with pride.  i'm sure it helped that by the time the evening rolled around, he was glued to my side and wouldn't let me put him down.  i suppose that's how it will always work...no matter how much he is grown, he will always need me at certain times.

 

TIME SLOWED DOWN.

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before holden, life was rushed.  my days passed like the blur out the window of a speeding train, my face pressed against the sill attempting to discern whole objects out of the hazy greens and blues.

life revolved around getting to where i was going.  getting to work, getting to the next meeting, getting home to my husband, getting to dinner, getting to bed, a ceaseless list of deadlines.

of course, i enjoyed my life, but i failed to notice all of life around me and truly enjoy every minute.

but holden changed this.  he taught me to look at time with slow eyes.  we swim in every minute, every second of our waking hours, soaking up every last drop.

almost every time we make our way up the front walk after being away from the house, holden stops me, begging to be put down so that he can draw with chalk, dig in the dirt, or search for and clean spiderwebs off of everything in his sight (his latest obsession).

despite an impending nap, a quickly approaching dinnertime, or the multiple baskets of laundry that seem to be forever waiting for me,

i always stop and play.

we stay at the park slightly longer than initially planned, take the long way home on our morning walks, and leave the light on a little past bedtime.

the true urgency to self-imposed deadlines has been realized.  there is no race.  there is no finish line.

and through this slowing of time, i've discovered things about life...

that we live directly under a flight path meaning that airplanes fly overhead nearly every ten minutes, that the swaying trees look like a rippling sea when the wind blows and it's slightly mesmerizing to watch, that you can always find a bug or insect no matter where you are, that the moon is out during the day more often than you think, and that those extra ten minutes in bed reading in the morning are worth more than you think.

so these days, when my body sinks into the bed at night, my mind isn't racing with whats, whens, and whys

because each and every day is enough.

oh, cleaning and scrubbing, but children grow up, as i've learned to my sorrow.  so quiet down cobwebs.  dust go to sleep.  i'm rocking my baby.  babies don't keep. - ruth hulbert hamilton