This. This. A million times. This. To anyone that wants to know “what it feels like” This. Read it. Then read it again.

survive being left

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The evening I flunked being a mom

So my youngest wanted this book that he saw at a little shop called Home Economics that we go into every so often.

He has been asking me to get this book for him

ALL.
WEEK.
LONG.

I called the store today and asked them to put it on hold for us. Cohan was beyond thrilled and he walked around the farmers market with it clutched to his chest, beaming, asking if he can read it when he got into the car.

I smiled feeling like I hung the moon and like I had fulfilled my motherly win for the day…

The book has the most adorable cover. A cute chubby, cartoon dog with a red foil heart in a speech bubble over him.

Then we got in the car.

Mischievous giggles sounded behind me.

Soon I heard my oldest with a smile saying “um I think that has the S word…”

*even more uproarious laughter from my youngest*

I intervened, grabbing for the book, saying “no no let me see it. I thought it was just a book about a pet dog.”

I flipped to the next page and the cartoon dog was accosting a Honda and shouting four letter words.

It was hilarious.

I had also flunked as a mom (for the day).

The kids were absolutely cracking up and I was thinking of ways to put stickers over the non kid friendly words.

The author had no idea it would be purchased as a children’s book. I don’t think the shopkeeper had any idea it wasn’t a children’s book.

At the end of the day I had still flunked yet I haven’t heard my children laugh that hard in a long time (and our house is positively bursting with mirth).

Ps I’m fully anticipating people that don’t know what it’s like to truly parent to take great offense to all of this instead of seeing the humor behind good (yet failed) intentions in parenting.

Remind me to tell you about the time my mom took my brother and I to the rocky horror picture show in Berkeley. We all thought it was just going to be watching a movie….she still refers to it as the night she flunked motherhood.

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Selfish selfish selfish

I have a confession: I’ve been incredibly selfish lately. I can’t remember the last time I blogged (and quite frankly with some of the drudge I’ve been seeing I feel like that’s a dirty word now.
Can I call it musing?
Yes.
Let’s call it that.

We have been up to so much and there’s so much I feel I want to share but at the same time I’m like “eh”.

“It seems like a lot of work” is my battle cry as of late.

We’ve been adventuring, experimenting with new recipes, getting back into our running groove (I kind of resemble a tortoise trudging through peanut butter but still), getting tattoos started and finished, trying new foods, scheming for additional back yard projects, watching one of my two almond trees die, feeling anxiety ridden at family gatherings, antiquing in the middle of nowhere, screaming at the television during the Stanley Cup playoffs (I would tell you who I’m rooting for but that feels confrontational) and I haven’t said a blessed word about any of it.

Just *zip*

Nothing.

I thrive on honesty and I’ve just been so silent that it feels dishonest (please tell me that makes sense). Not that the world needs ANOTHER Caucasian, thirty something, artistic, single mom scribing about her life but still.

I suppose I’m putting in writing that I will be more present. Which again sounds silly because I’m so ensconced in my home life that I can never be accused of not being present, at least with them and no offense that’s where my priorities are haha.

I suppose I’m aspiring to be more present in the world. Not necessarily at social gatherings and such but there’s just so much out there, it’s beautiful and I want to share it.

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The three most damaging words you can tell your son.

During a very difficult time in our lives my oldest was told “now you’re the man of the house”. As soon as that door closed I held his sweet face and looked him directly in the eye and said “you don’t worry about being a man. You worry about being a kid, a carefree and feeling kid. I can handle being a ‘man’ and a mom just fine.”

This isn’t exactly what this video is about but the effect our words have on children is incredible and powerful. Please make sure to click on the video link below. It’s a powerful message (not my video and I am not endorsed in any way).

“For my kids I was going to end this hyper masculine narrative here.”

Watch The Mask You Live In Video. It’s so incredibly important.

Learn more: The mask you live in

“In the garden”. Big Bear, Trains and Flesh Eating Cacti – part III

I love a good arboretum. They’re a wonderfully cared for bit of “nature” in the middle of an urban sprawl. I’ve started creating an unofficial top 5 in the last year (The Spring Preseve in Nevada and The Los Angeles Arboretum topping that list). I purchased a family membership while at the Springs Preserve and was presented with a list of where the membership was accepted in different states.
Win!

So….the flesh eating cacti.

Backstory: When we went to the Los Angeles Arboretum my tough, strapping teenager reached out to idly touch a cactus. It was an overcast breezy day and this particular breed of cacti has long slender segmented branches. I was a few paces ahead trying to keep up with Cohan when I heard a terrified yelp. I spun around and my brave young man was staring horrified at the cactus.

“It moved!”

We looked at him.
Looked at the plant.
Looked toward the placard for any notes that declared:

THIS CACTUS WILL EAT YOUR FACE OFF. DONT EVEN GLANCE AT IT.

So while hiding a smirk I reached out to touch it.
Nothing.
By now Brayden was mumbling how he swears it moved and we finally talked him into trying to touch it again.
He tentatively reached out…

nothing happened.

To this day his younger siblings tease him about man eating plants. “Careful Brayden this one looks dangerous!”

I mention the cacti incident because the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens have a large focus on native plants. So much so that the nursery on location sells the native plants five days a week (I can’t wait to go back for that especially!)

We walked the paths and while it wasn’t my favorite or the most striking of all of the arboretums I’ve ever been to it was a lovely breath of fresh air with the mountains peaking through the trees in the background. Also. Be prepared to hear “squirrel!” If you have children (or child like adults) with you. They’re everywhere and very cute.

From there we went to the Loving Hut. We thoroughly enjoy their food (although admittedly it’s not our “favorite”). They have several locations but please be aware that the menus vary.

Our last stop before the hour drive home was Viva La Vegan. This is one of those store that I wish
A. Had more produce
B. Was closer to our house.
Those are the only “complaints”. Otherwise this place is awesome! It takes all of the guesswork out of grocery shopping in regards to everything from pet food to shoes (Cohan got a fantastic pair of Macbeths). Every time we’re in the area we always make a point to stop in.

It was a wonderful trip but as always there’s no place like home.

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“Don’t be silly you love trains.” Big Bear, Trains and Flesh Eating Cacti – part II

We took a lllooonnngggg time getting going on day 2. Star Trek was on and we were all lazing about enjoying our sprawling hotel stay.

Once we did get moving we were off to the Orange Empire Railway Museum. I have ALWAYS wanted to go but we are rarely ever out in the Perris area. This place is a must for anyone that either gets a kick out of trains, loves history, or has children (of any age) that are/were acquainted with Thomas the train or Polar Express. The whole of the place has such an old timey feel that I’ll have to let the pictures do most of the talking in this post. I’m also fearful of giving anyone who actually “knows” trains an anxiety attack by differentiating the engines by saying “the big steam one”.

We bought the family pass (which saved us $8 instead of buying a separate admission ticket for each of us) and wandered to the large storage building that holds a large collection of trains (some dating back to 1870). You can go through the building and read about the history of each great machine and even go into more than half of them (most still filled with the charming ads that graced their walls once upon a time). We then rode both of the trains that run on the main rail and depart every half hour. My face hurt from smiling as I watched how enchanted the kids were with being “in something so full of history” as Kap had put it.

There’s quite a lot to explore and we could have taken more time there but it was getting a bit warm (and we’re a bunch of wusses in the heat). So we headed back to the hotel with dinner and night swimming on the agenda.

For me the Orange Empire Railway was the highlight of the trip and would definitely go back. 20140221-100709.jpg20140221-100826.jpg20140221-100841.jpg20140221-100855.jpg20140221-100903.jpg20140221-100848.jpg20140221-100918.jpg20140221-100910.jpg20140221-100834.jpg20140221-100933.jpg20140221-100924.jpg

Big Bear, Trains and Flesh Eating Cacti – part I

I’ll be splitting this last weekends adventure into three parts over the next few days because (theoretically) you could pursue each of these destinations in three separate day trips (if you’re in the Southern California area).

We made our way up to Big Bear located in the San Bernardino mountains, about 100 miles from Los Angeles. Initially I had planned on spending the whole weekend up there.
Cozy.
In a cabin.
Snow falling gracefully outside…

I talked to my long time friend that lives up there year round and he said “Don’t bother. The weather has been awful this year.”

Sadly the snow has been few and far between this season. Which is unfortunate because the local economy thrives on the vacationers that flock up the mountain year round to enjoy the lake or the slopes. But when it’s too cold for the lake and the only snow to be found is man made and on the grounds of the ski resorts…meh. Not the country get away we were hoping for.

So I jumped on Expedia (It’s my go to for travel planning, and no I’m not paid to say that. They actually have no idea I’m talking about them *bwahahaha*). I booked a room in San Bernardino at the foot of the mountain. This also gave me the breathing room to create other plans in the Inland Empire that I had always wanted to do but never got a chance to.
Aaaannnnndddddd it was way cheaper.

We stopped at Lake Arrowhead on the way up because I had always wanted to walk around their little village. I hesitate to write anything “negative” but the whole place was only “ok”. The views of the lake are awesome and the shops we did go into were charming but on the whole I didn’t feel inclined to stay.

One of the upsides of our stop in Lake Arrowhead was an impromptu hair cut for Co. This kid has been wanting to “grow his hair out” for as long as I can remember. We got out of the car and I looked at his sweet face and said “ok kiddo, I know you want to grow your hair out but we need to trim it up, make it all one length while it grows out.” He sighed and I explained I’m still in support of his decision to express himself through his “look” but that he was looking like a ragamuffin. We stopped into Rumors and my initial impression had me asking “is this a place were a child can have their hair done or is it a bit too spa like?”. Seriously, it’s that cute. Furthermore it has some major TARDIS action going on, it’s far bigger on the inside once you walk through and has quite the pretty view of the lake. The gals there were more than accommodating and very sweet about our mob of 5 coming in and crowding up the place. I’m awful with names but I want to say Cohan’s stylist is named Julie (cute, friendly, blonde with a forearm tattoo). Co got exactly what he wanted, she kept the length as much as she could and I got a little boy who didn’t look like a stand in for Oliver Twist. I’ll be honest it’s the best trim I’ve seen on him in a few years.
It’s completely rational to make the trek up the mountain to get my hair done by her too right?

We left Lake Arrowhead and made it to Big Bear. I’m notorious for packing picnics (eating at restaurants gets pricey for all of us). So we sat at Boulder Bay munching happily, watching the ducks and enjoying the crisp weather. The park is very pretty but can get a little busy. I can’t imagine it during a peak season.

We then went to the Big Bear Discovery center . I imagine this place would be fantastic for little ones (we got through it pretty quickly and still enjoyed ourselves thoroughly). The main center has a couple of small exhibits about local wildlife and vegetation and there’s a back portion located outside with a few hands on displays that had us getting creative and laughing.

Next was Juniper Point .The gate wasn’t open so we parked along the road (several other cars were there so we assumed it was ok, I don’t know for sure so please do this at your own risk). We didn’t go down the whole trail because we were meeting our friend at 4:00 so we just wandered and enjoyed being out in the (paved trail) scenery. It’s a gorgeous spot and while it isn’t exactly roughing it it’s a good way to stretch your legs if you have small children in strollers, joint problems or have older people in your party.

We made our way to Sandy’s a sports bar that our friend favors. Don’t let the bikini clad gal on their website fool you, in my experience the establishment is kid friendly, reminding me more of the breweries in NorCal or the old style pubs across the pond. The food is fairly typical bar fare (they do make attempts at vegetarian options, vegans like myself are far more limited, I had the veggie sandwich without mayo or cheese). They have a full bar, tv’s on most of the walls tuned to a wide variety of sporting events, friendly staff and most importantly (to my little mice) a game room. Four pool tables, a handful of arcade games etc etc. more often than not we end up in there for a solid hour after we eat.

We finished our night on the mountain playing Cosmic Golf. A truly treacherous game for people with depth perception problems *shyly raises hand*. It got chilly pretty quick and the course (while 18 holes) is pretty small. Regardless of weather or size that was one of the highlights of our day. The kids were especially excited at the prospect of being outside in the black lights playing mini golf, the novelty of it didn’t wear off for them. A word to the wise. It’s cash only and also score cards don’t exist. There was a review on yelp, one of those cranky reviewers that have oodles of time to just talk trash and get labeled as “elite” that was FURIOUS about the lack of score cards.

It’s cosmic golf, were you expecting to take this PGA serious?

Us less competitive folk? We had a ball.

We made it down the mountain and to our hotel at about 9 pm (and even got upgraded to a full suite because they had overbooked, thank YOU Hilton).

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