Times and Sorensens

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

La Brea Car Trip

Our trip home went much better than expected! We made plans to visit my brother, Adam, and his wife Erin on the way because we figured the boys would love a long break from the car trip, and ever since Adam suggested taking us to see the La Brea Tar Pits they've been way excited to see them. On the drive down, Joshua asked when we'd get there.

"It might be as little as an hour and a half if we skip lunch. If we stop for lunch, then it will probably be two and a half hours," I replied.

"Let's skip lunch" Joshua suggested. Daniel chimed in: "Skip lunch!"

Not only did the boys help us get there faster by voluntarily skipping lunch, they were unusually quiet and well behaved, even for them (and they have normally been unusually quiet and well behaved for little boys on long car trips). I think part of it was anticipating what they might see at the tar pits.

It was great to see Adam and Erin again, and they took us on a tour of the tar pits:

We saw the large pit that looks like an oily pond (with tar just under the surface to trap any foolish enough to bathe in foul-smelling oily water):

They even have some statues of Mammoths, with the mother apparently stuck in the tar:

Note the baby mammoth screaming for its mother (click on the picture to see a large version). Let's hope the boys didn't recognize the emotional pain embodied in this dramatization. At least they found a less depressing statue they were able to check out, a giant sloth:

It was a pretty neat experience. We got to see a tar pit bubbling away (Daniel: "It's like a fountain!"), a couple of places where tar had freshly bubbled out of the ground and we could poke it with sticks, and even where it had seeped up between cracks in the sidewalk (corner of Wilshire and S Curson). The tar was everything I told the boys it would be ("hot, sticky, and smelly"). Afterwards, Adam and Erin got us into the new Construction Exhibit in the LA County Museum of Art Children's Gallery.

The boys loved it. Joshua mainly enjoyed doing some art projects:

Daniel learned about construction safety while building with blocks:

After the construction exhibit, we parted ways with Adam and Erin and continued home. We arrived home later than usual, but we had a great time. Thanks you guys!

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Sad Good-bye

As we head back from whence we came, we bid farewell to these amenities that have been so enjoyable for us to use these last 3 months. Ah well, we got along without them before, and we'll do it again!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Looking to the future...

Last night Daniel walked outside our home when we left the front door open, so I scooped him up and pulled him back inside.

"I want to run away," he said. I was pretty sure he meant go outside and play, but responded anyway.

"You don't want to do that. Who would feed you? Who would take care of you?"

I thought I had won the argument until a few seconds later. "A.. Robot!" he declared. "A Robot will take care of me."

Thanks Dad!

My Dad and I love to go on hikes together and I wanted to share these pictures from our latest outing. I love these rolling hills and miss them when I'm not living close by. And of course I miss family and getting to do things like this with them when I'm not living close by. These last few months have been wonderful!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fantastic Parking Job

It's not every day I notice an exceptionally well-parked car. I would not have thought you could fit a minivan into this spot by parallel parking. Congratulations to Leslie -- what skill!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

heat wave

We reached 101 degrees Fahrenheit today and did the only logical thing we could think of:

stayed indoors with the a/c and ate popsicles.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More heroics from Joshua!

I mentioned at the end of my last post that Joshua had been a hero for rescuing Daniel's new flip-flop from certain doom at the water park. Yesterday he demonstrated even more heroism and I am so proud! For those who may not know, I have a full-blown phobia of insects. I know that my fear is irrational because bugs aren't going to hurt me, etc. but all the rationalizing in the world isn't going to help -- whenever I encounter a bug, I feel genuine fear and disgust. It bothers me a little to be so cliche, a female and afraid of bugs, but what can I say? I am pretty stereotypically female, and I like it for the most part.

Our story begins yesterday afternoon, when Joshua was in his room having his quiet play time. I was out front and Daniel was napping in our bedroom. I heard Joshua playing and he was talking to his toys as he often does when I heard him say, "I'd better go tell mommy." I wondered what it could be. He came out and announced that there was a bug in his room and he wanted to me to come and see. I told myself it was probably a small gnat or spider (I don't have a problem with spiders). But no, it was a big, gross earwiggy type bug. It was on his toy box in the middle of lots of his toys. I quickly averted my eyes and tried not to think too hard about what I had just seen.

At this point I was trying not to panic. I didn't want to just leave the bug loose among the toys only to become an unpleasant surprise later on, but I didn't want to touch it or even get near it, so I was at an impasse. I was just kind of standing there trying to figure out what to do when Joshua said, "Don't worry mommy, I'll get rid of it." Part of me wanted to believe Joshua, and believe in him that he could do it. But another part of me was doubtful, and I didn't want to be left with a harrier situation than before. And still another part of me felt guilty, because here I was, the adult in charge, immobilized by fear into inaction and indecision. I decided to let him give it a try, and he went into the bathroom and came back with a little piece of toilet paper. At this point I needed to leave the room, so I came out front and held my breath.

What I heard coming from his bedroom was not pretty. The running commentary was almost more than I could bear, "Hey, you're a fast little guy. Where did you go, bug? Oh there you are, get back here!" And then, "Mommy! I squished the bug but his back is still moving!" Oh my goodness, this was more than I could bear. I started to feel weak, but I had to say something. I think I lamely called out something like, "well, try squishing it until it doesn't move anymore." I felt horrible. I didn't want the poor thing to suffer, I didn't want to traumatize Joshua and I was feeling SO guilty for not going in there to help him. As I was thus struggling within, Joshua literally swooped in for the rescue. He said "I know what to do. C'mon bug, get on the toilet paper." I didn't see him do it, but he got the half-squished bug onto the toilet paper, got it into the toilet and flushed it away. Now why hadn't I thought of that?! Anyway, I cannot tell you the relief I felt when I realized that the ordeal was over and that Joshua had taken care of the whole thing. I was so incredibly proud of him for his initiative and problem-solving skills. He was able to keep a level head the whole time, even when he could tell that I was stressed.

Later that evening we told Jake about Joshua's very brave deed. He basked in his manhood and then asked, "Mommy, why were you making that noise when you saw the bug?"

"What noise?" I didn't remember making any noise.

"The noise like, "Ahhhh.""
I tried my best to explain that even though mommy is afraid of bugs and doesn't like them, it's my own problem and it doesn't mean that bugs are scary or that there is anything wrong with them. Also, they just don't belong in the house. I have tried hard to hide this fear from my boys, not wanting to pass on my complex to them. I genuinely want them to just get to be boys and have fun with bugs. After all, we would have a true crisis on our hands if we were all afraid of bugs and I had no one to take care of such things. But now the jig is up, and I told Joshua that when daddy isn't home, that means that he is the man of the house. Then I told Daniel that if both daddy and Joshua are gone that he would be the man of the house. This seemed to make everyone happy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I Cool Dude!

Daniel had been envious of Joshua's flip-flops so I told him we would get him his own pair when we made our annual "get ready for summer" trip to Old Navy (I say annual because this is the second year in a row that we've done it, so it counts!). Daniel is now the proud owner of his own pair of flip-flops and as I was putting them on him for the first time he declared, "I cool dude!"

He happily wears them any chance he gets, including on our trip to the water park. We had a bit of a "scare" when one of the flip-flops came off while he was playing in the river and was quickly carried downstream. I thought it was a goner for sure, as the grating at the end of the river was definitely wide enough to let a child-sized flip-flop through. Joshua happened to be playing by the grating though and rescued it before it could be lost forever. Flip-flop and owner were happily reunited and Joshua felt good about having the chance to be a hero to his little brother (and to his mother who didn't want to have to go back to the store to buy another pair!).

Friday, June 08, 2007

cousin fun at the water park!

Yesterday I took the boys for a cousin get-together at what I think is just about the funnest park I have been to! It was so great to see Viv and Molly and their cute kids. The cousins who were able to make it are all the same age and they had so much fun. And really, I think we adults had as much fun as the kids because this park is so neat. It has an area with sprinklers and spigots for running around in, filling up cups, buckets, etc., it has an area that simulates small mountain streams, and also a waterfall and river for exploring. I seriously wish that this type of park had been around when I was a kid, but I think it's almost more fun to see my own kids enjoying it and to enjoy it along with them. Good thing this park is free because we've made good use of it; we went with a friend of mine and her little boy last month, our park group has gone, we had our cousin get-together there yesterday and we're planning another one for next week to help Viv's older kids celebrate that school's out!

Emily and Daniel playing in the spigot

Joshua climbing down the waterfall

Daniel also climbing down the waterfall to get to the...


Joshua traverses the river

And we of course had a fun picnic lunch

Thanks so much for a great time everyone...we sure wish that Tracy and the kiddodiddo cousins could have been there too!

Friday, June 01, 2007

moving lyrics, haunting melody

Here is the chorus to a song I heard years ago that I will probably never forget. It resonated with my spirit.

He lives in you
He lives in me
He watches over
Everything we see
Into the water
Into the truth
In your reflection
He lives in you

from Rhythm of the Pride Lands, "He Lives in You" by Lebo M