Tuesday, June 21, 2011

#1 Dad

Anna had it set in her mind that she was going to give her dad a Droid for Father's Day. She had seen a commercial about a dad daydreaming about his daughter buying him a new cell phone and she was convinced Trent wanted one too. Unfortunately, she doesn't understand that there is a little something called "new every 2" at Verizon and her daddy isn't due for a new phone until January. She was extremely mad at me when she ran in to my room Sunday morning at 7:15, demanding to know where dad's Droid was so she could give it to him when he got back from golfing, and I had to tell her I couldn't get him one. I didn't realize she thought I actually ordered it! She had even told all her Nana that she was giving her dad a Droid and that it was coming in the mail. I felt so bad!!! Even though I was a little irked to be woken up with so much drama I jumped out of bed and started searching the internet for ideas of Father's Day gifts she could give him instead! It took her awhile to get over the Droid but she finally consented to a BBQ apron! Nothing like a little last minute gift making! I spent the morning whipping up a denim apron and after church the kids painted it! It was ready just in time for him to use it! Our lucky daddy barbecued his own dinner as we were having over my family and had decided on bbq chicken! He was a great sport and wore his apron with pride along with a fancy paper crown Anna made him at church! That along with a little toolbox Aiden made him at a Home Depot clinic made for some pretty great gifts for a pretty great dad!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Still Cool ???

One of the advantages to moving back to AZ was that I had a fairly decent ride to come home too! After driving a clunky clown car around SA for several months, my Camry felt more like a Lexus in comparison! But after a couple of trips in the car with Aiden and Anna plus their friends or cousins double buckled in the back seat I second guessed my economical decision to buy a car two years ago.  Since I only have two kids I assumed a car would be sufficient, however, they are a little close for comfort and the constant "he's touching me" is annoying! This combined with the lack of room for extra guests prompted my decision to trade up (in size)!

If there was ever one thing I was certain of it was that I would never be caught dead driving a mini van! I am not sure what it is about a mini van that makes me shudder at the thought, but I am guessing it has something to do with the very blah exterior and the image of sliding doors with kids piling out. Mini vans just seem to be correlated with "dorky soccer mom" and since I still consider myself a fresh out of high school twenty something there was no way I was jumping into that abyss. Never say never! Thanks to some friends of mine who decided to break all stereotypes and bravely enter the mini van realm first, I was convinced that maybe it was worth losing a little piece of myself! Once you get past the exterior you find a roomy, comfortable, highly equipped interior! It drives like a car, is slightly better in gas than a Tahoe and is there anything better than pushing a button to open doors? So after A LOT of inner personal struggle I conceded and purchased a fancy Honda Odyssey! HA HA HA! The jokes really on myself, because I actually love it! It is fun to drive and because the inside is fairly nice and I can't see what I look like in it, I forget that I'm now a dorky soccer mom. I have also learned a little bit about good ole humility! While I still cringe at the thought of pulling up to some of my hipper friends houses to drive them out to dinner in my new ride, I realized that I am not what I drive! I learned a little bit about that in my Hyundai Atos in SA and finished the lesson in my new Odyssey! I don't know why I still, at this old age of 32, get caught up with appearances and letting material things define me! You would think after all I witnessed in SA I would get a clue! So the mini van has grounded me, but like Jodi Adam's license plate reads on her mini van, I'm still cool.....right?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Settling In

In just the few short weeks since returning to Arizona, we have settled in to our new house and right back to our old life. It honestly feels as if we had never left. I sometimes find myself asking, "was I really in Africa for 10 months?" Thank goodness for the pictures, as I have proof it was not a dream! I was watching Jack Hanna's Animal Adventure yesterday and it was surreal to see him on a boat headed out to Dyer Island, off the coast of Gansbaii, to swim with the great white sharks and to know I have actually been in that exact spot doing that exact thing! It is not until now as I am back in the "real world" that I can actually see how incredible our adventure was and appreciate the once in a lifetime moments we experienced on a daily basis.

I was afraid that I would be in a depression after leaving the foreign place where I felt so strangely at home, but instead I am content in my surroundings and truly comfortable. I love our new house and being back in my old neighborhood. The kids have a ton of friends and it is a beautiful thing that they can safely ride their bikes around the block to go and play. Anna has definitely found her better half in a little girl named Natalie. She is calm and sweet and patient and a perfect compliment to my sassy, bossy daughter! They get along so well and it makes our life with Anna a bit easier as she is only happy when she is surrounded by friends. I have decided that there is nothing better than having a basement! I have no idea what it looks like down there and I can have the whole neighborhood over without much bother!

Aiden jumped back into a typical summer by starting swim team this past week. We decided to do it at the Mesa Country Club so that he could also play golf and be with his cousin Brody. I was reluctant to sign him up at the club as it has been 2 summer's since he last participated on a swim team and he hasn't had any formal lessons in years. While I am always preaching to him that winning doesn't matter and all you can do is your very best I must admit in the back of my mind I was fearful that he would be laps behind the other swimmers and that he may be devastated if he always lost. I think he was a bit worried to because it took some convincing to get him to do it and he only agreed as long as he didn't have to do the swim meets. I was so relieved when he came home after the first session and loved every minute of it! He was so excited about it that he actually said he was going to swim in the meet just 2 days later! On the way to the meet his nerves kicked in and I think he began to second guess himself. I too was worried and got caught up in my own insecurities about competition. As I watched him dive into the pool as the first swimmer on his relay team (swimming backstroke of all the strokes) I was literally holding my breath. I couldn't believe my eyes, while his stroke wasn't perfect, he was a pretty decent swimmer! He surprised me so much and I couldn't have been prouder. His team finished 3rd out of 3 groups, but he was so excited to get a 3rd place ribbon he could have cared less that they lost! In his next race, he swam freestyle and came in 2nd! He was beaming ear to ear and it was a great moment! I learned a lot during that meet. There were some amazing swimmers and then there were some that weren't so great. Some of my favorite swimmers were the ones who struggled so much I honestly didn't know if they would make it, finally reach the finish! You really have no choice in that situation but to keep on swimming! And while I am sure it would be more rewarding for the coaches to have a team full of champs, they shouted encouragement to their swimmers urging them across! Another great moment was when one little guy won first place, solely because he was the only swimmer in that heat! He was so thrilled with himself and his first place ribbon the fact that there was no competition was meaningless! And most importantly I watched Aiden prove to me that he can do anything he sets his mind too! That was the best moment of all!