Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Summer Camp 2017

SS is enjoying her time at summer camp, and it turns out E, her best friend from kinder is also attending. E moved to her home school after kinder, and SS has missed her a lot. This picture was taken on her first day. Check her out pretending she is a big shot basketball player.

Every Tuesday the kids get to go out and do something fun. Actually spending time at summer camp is about fun. Let's say they kids get to do something even more fun. Imagine our surprise when we were told they would be going to the skate/bike/scooter park the next day. We are nervous about leaving our child under your care, and you tell us tomorrow you are taking her to a place where she can break every bone in her body. I was not even sure about letting SS go, I was really afraid she would get hurt.  

P was not concerned since he felt SS is very timid about doing things on land (water is no holds barred). He knew SS would not do anything risky, and he was right. I was very relieved to see an intact SS that afternoon. The poor girl really needs a new helmet and elbow/knee pads.

More fun to be had at Mulligans, where SS played Laser Tag, mini golf, and got soaked at the water slides (bathing suit top on, and bottoms under her shorts) . It was really difficult leaving SS again, but I'm now a pro at dropping her off at places I'd rather she only go with us.

E (SS's kinder bestie), M, and our girl. Still blows my mind E and SS are the same age. They had a blast.

CH splash pad, where E and SS frolicked in kinder while the parents had a meeting. I can't believe that was five years ago. I really need to look for a picture of the girls from that day.  SS told me that day that she felt like a teenager. Way to rub it in kid.

Yay they dedicated one week to super heroes and the kids were allowed to wear costumes one day. SS was very excited to wear her Spiderman costume.  She insisted on wearing boots and I warned her it would get hot. Mami said nadie aprende por cabeza ajena (no one learns through someone else's head), and she was right. I was packing SS's lunch when she told me she needed different clothes that would not be as bulky under the costume. When I saw SS next she was already suited, and off to camp we went.

As I predicted SS did get hot under the costume, and I was greeted by this garish sight. OMG this is what she wore under the costume. We have not received a visit from the CPS social worker, so I think while concerning, we are on the clear by now. Without the boots the outfit is almost passable, if you are color blind.

Oh goodie comic con week, and an opportunity for SS to dress up as Black Panther. I made sure she showed me what she was wearing before she put her costume on. SS really enjoys super hero dress up and role play. 

This was the day after we went to Disneyland, perhaps the retro hat is a shout out to Guardians of the Galaxy.  I have no idea where SS had stashed that fedora she wore when she was barely three years old. I do know I need to confiscate it and place it with her baby memories stash.  School starts in twenty one days, enjoy the last three weeks of summer SS.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Growing up, making progress, moving on.

It's been SS's summer ritual, four two week sessions of swimming lessons. It began in kindergarten and this is her last year. There are six Red Cross swim levels, and our city only offers one through four. SS has taken level IV classes the last two summers, and this one. Last summer we knew SS needed to move on. But there was so much going on we really did not look into alternatives. Actually we knew what would be next, a swim team. JJ was in a swim team at SS's age, and my three nieces and nephew were in teams since they were in first grade. Swim teams are great, but participation is also time consuming, including mandatory parent volunteering, and fundraisers. I'd rather give birth again without an epidural than engage in fundraising. Also, it is costly, probably why there are not many lower SES kids involved.

The cost was not the issue since we only have one child to provide for at this time. The time commitment and our doubts as to SS's readiness were the issues. We are referring to willingness to do the work involved, not SS's ability. Swim classes are fun and short. Twenty five minutes go by fast, and the teachers always do something fun the last five minutes. Who can make the biggest splash diving in, who can jump the farthest, diving for rings, and many other contests. Then the teachers do not have the kids constantly swimming those twenty minutes. There is a lot of individual swim to me then swim back. The kids get plenty of rest during that time. Twenty five minutes of swim team is a workout. I know because when JJ was swimming the parents were given the opportunity of doing masters swimming. I was there waiting for JJ anyway and stupidly joined in. That was some serious hard work, and I was in decent shape then, an runner, biker, and hiker.

SS is one lazy child who as of two years ago sat in a huge bike trailer stroller when visiting Knott's Berry Farm , Soak City, and Disneyland. We realize we only have ourselves to blame, but it was very convenient to store our belongings in the Hummer (P named the stroller). While watching SS swim these past few weeks we knew it would not be fair to have SS return to level IV for a fourth year. SS also expressed a desire to do more, she is obviously done with this part of her life. Then we go back to SS's laziness. It's going to be a one hour drive round trip, at least three times a week. No big deal, but it is also at 6:00p.m. Get home, eat and hit the road. We decided to wait until SS is done with day camp and swim lessons to have her try out for the swim team. SS's last swim lesson is next Thursday.

SS began her last session Monday, and like with every other first day we needed to sign in with the director. The staff know SS because, how could they miss the kid who has done every session for five years. The director greeted SS and off she went to find her teacher, while I signed her in. He told me how much they enjoy having SS in the classes, but wanted to let me know that SS should be at level VI now. Yes we know this, at least one of us watches her swim every class. The director suggested we look into a swim team to make sure SS refines her strokes, works on speed, and stamina. Wait, was SS gently nudged out of the program? That is exactly what happened, and he was very gentle about it. I informed the director of our plans and he seemed very pleased for SS. But seriously, was SS nicely told to move on? Quite funny.

What is SS doing?


Cheeky Monkey
SS requested a haircut, and great timing because it would be a pain to get all this hair inside a swim cap. She has requested haircuts before, then once on the chair cries and says only a trim. P was on board with cutting at least four inches, then told me he wasn't sure he was ready to let her long hair go. Spoken like a man who won't be the one helping SS put on her swim cap. We will see what happens when SS and the stylist's scissors meet next week. 

Alien shot.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer of Heroes

Summer of Heroes, SS's Mecca, one of the reasons why we still have season passes. We try to avoid Disneyland during summer, but we really needed fun family time. We woke up SS earlier than she would ever allow, but she was all smiles. She would gladly forgo some beauty sleep in a Sunday if super heroes are involved. Our must do list was simple, sign up SS for the interactive show, wait for Black Widow to make an appearance, and the Guardians of the Galaxy Dance Off. SS loves to bust a move, and we knew she'd be joining the crowd.Yesterday was going to be an easy day.

We arrived at the Hollywood back lot at California Adventure, ready to sign up SS to participate in one of the Avenger Training Initiative show. She followed the instructions the cast member gave her, and was able to perform the moves required. SS met the age requirement, 6-12 years old. The last question was if she would be OK on stage for approximately twenty minutes, with her parents mere yards away from her. SS FROZE, she could not answer. Are you kidding me? P made a face plant Friday and Saturday afternoon after arriving home from work. He's been working way too hard, and giving up days off. But he wanted to make Sunday special for SS. And this is when our super hero obsessed daughter decides to draw the line?

SS said she was scared, and to be honest P and I were not exactly immediately understanding.  SS has met so many super hero characters and has interacted with them, hammed it up, and had a blast. What was so different about this experience? The tears began to flow, and we did not want to suck the joy out of a Disney visit. We were both just flabbergasted. At the end of the day if we are right by her SS is just fine. The thought of being on stage while we were very close in the audience (later we realized mere feet away) was too much for her to handle.
SS then went to some station where she was asked questions to determine her "personality," and what super hero it matched. SS was a match with Iron Man, and any other day she would have been ecstatic. Not so yesterday, because yesterday she felt Black Panther was her personality soul mate. SIGH

SS put her disappointment aside and gladly posed for a picture.

SS met Black Widow but I have no idea what they were discussing. Most likely top secret, super hero collusion.

She's small, she's delicate, she's beautiful, but she can make a face that will make your blood curdle.

We then went on Soarin' because it never gets old. Along with The Little Mermaid it's my favorite ride at California Adventure. This is our first selfie on this ride.

We went through the trouble of bringing a dry backpack, and a wet backpack, in case SS wanted to play in the splash pad at Bug's Land. After Soarin' P suggested going on the Grizzly Bear Run. Our SS is indeed a grizzly bear when uncomfortable, so we had her change into her bathing suit and flip flops. We had two towels in case she ended up soaked. P and I roughed it with what we were wearing. The people on our opposite side took the brunt of the rapids, they were soaked, wearing jeans and sneakers. Our daughter came out with a few drops of water on her bathing suit. I bet if we were not prepared, that would have been us.

 On our way to The Little Mermaid SS ran into The Incredibles and was able to get a hi, and a picture.

I was last on the Hollywood Tower of Terror in 2005, and have not cared to try again. It is now Guardians of the Galaxy, but it's the same darn ride.  I do know P likes the ride, so I asked him to go on the single rider line, while I stayed with SS under the shade. We found a bench by the ride, shaded, and one towel became SS's pillow, while the other was under her. Sadly the ride does not have a single rider line, and P did not want to wait over an hour for the pleasure of vomiting his lunch.  We researched to find where the dance off was taking place, next on our agenda. Darn lucky us, it was a few feet from our bench. We talked, SS rested, and we reached the front just in time for the show to begin.

That is when SS surprised us for the second time in one day. She did not want to go to the front and dance with all the other kids. SS has been dancing since the day we met her. We will never forget her stamina at P's cousin's wedding. Our three year old out danced everyone at the reception. Nope, her situational shyness returned. P said he would go up and dance when they asked others to join. We kept urging SS to go up and dance without succeeding. Just as I asked P to give me the camera so he could go and show his moves, a cast member held my hands and pull me up front. Ut oh, is this what SS was fearing? Because I love dancing at home, in public is not so comfortable.  Talking about dancing a mile in somebody else's shoes.

It is not fair to encourage SS to be adventurous if we are not willing to do the same. So I sucked it up and danced like no one was watching. Except there were SO MANY PEOPLE WATCHING, and filming with their cell phones. I am sure there a many videos up on YouTube right now of that fat, old lady trying to dance. Oh well, it was fun. The young man dancing his heart out is the cast member who pulled me to dance. That guy has moves, they should put him in one of their stage shows.

Once the dance off was over SS found her dancing spirit, and danced to the last of the music. That girl is one funky chicken. The video is at the end of the post.

Then SS met Groot! She was really in awe of him, not only because of his height, but because of the selfless thing he did in Guardians of the Galaxy.

We could not resist and joined SS in the Groot love fest.

We only had one more item on our must do list, the Avenger Training Initiative. Although SS declined to be on stage, she still wanted to watch the show. Even after resting her bones before the dance off, SS was rather tired. P came to the rescue with shave ice so sweet it was certain to hype SS into the next day.

SS had her own shave ice, ate the whole thing, and still fell asleep while waiting for the show to begin. The picture is blurry but the best I could do with one hand.

Once SS saw how close we would have been to her, and all the cool stuff on stage, she wished she had done it. The Summer of Heroes runs until mid September, maybe Baba will feel like going through all of it again.

Before we departed SS made sure to pose at various Summer of Heroes landmarks.

I like this picture because of P's reflection on the poster, he truly indulges his girl.

By the time we arrived at the restaurant to pick up our dinner, SS was out in her carseat. She napped for a while, recharged, ate, and watched Shark Week, then the Spartan finals. The girl went to bed at 11;00 p.m., a big no no here, when she has so much to do the next day.

SS had one more surprise for us this morning, because while she was very unhappy to be awaken, she did AMAZING at swimming class. her strokes have improved, and she is stronger. SS did not swim like a kid who had done the amount of walking she did yesterday, or showed the effect of standing under the sun, and going to sleep late. 


We have had a series of setbacks during the past eighteen months that have really tested us as a family. Being an island of three is not easy, and there have been times when the pain is just too much, we have felt like drowning is not only imminent, but a welcomed relief. Yesterday reminded us that we have each other, so what if no else cares? Yes it hurts, especially when it comes to SS, it cuts deep. But we are slowly coming out of the fog, and pray that if there is indeed a higher power, that it looks kindly upon our daughter. We are blessed to have SS, to watch her grow, to have her love.

Friday, June 30, 2017


When SS was younger she requested to be wrapped like a burrito. Every time she bathed and every time she was at the water park (several times there). I really don't remember when was the last time I wrapped my baby. SS was really cold after swim class yesterday, and rinsing under the shower did not help. That's how SS ended up wrapped like a burrito. This is stupid but it made me sad, and I had to hold back tears. SS is a big girl and I miss Baby S.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

We need a vacation to get over our spring break vacation.

P  scheduled our return flight for 7:00 a.m. to make sure SS would have time to rest, because she had school the next day.  We arrived on time at the gate, but they had closed the cabin door, and we were not allowed to board. The first flight we could take would depart in five hours.  Freaking great, there goes SS's time to unwind and nap. She napped for quite a while, but airport seats are not comfortable. Alaska Airlines gave us lunch vouchers, at least we had lunch covered.  Our bodies were feeling all the fun and mishaps of the previous week, and we were not taking it well.

 No A-A family vacation is complete without some annoying and/or painful incident. P returned from Maui with a bruised rib, and I had a busted ankle.  In New Orleans SS and I had  serious vomiting, cramps and 9SS) diarrhea after eating Taco Bell. It will be a long time before we have that again. During our spring break road trip last year, a suicidal deer took out the left side of our van.

This time P was bitten by we do not know what. There were bites on the other side of his hand also. It's weird because SS and I went wherever he went, and we do not have a single bite. They are uncomfortable, buy not painful.

Shortly after we arrived in Victoria P twisted his ankle, and ended up with a very swollen and bruised foot. As usual SS was very worried about her Baba, and demanded he ice and elevate his foot.  That took care of our two day tour of Victoria in Vancouver Island. But P got us a very nice room with a view of the bay. SS amused herself watching the water taxis, and the take offs and landings of the seaplanes

Now it's my turn, first I took a nasty spill at Capilano Bridge. There are signs all over the place cautioning about the slippery wet floor. Just as we were close to ending our tour I tripped. Unfortunately I was carrying a heavy backpack, which propelled me forward, I could not stop or break the fall.  P was a few steps behind me, could not get to me, and watched me bite it really hard.  I was so glad I was wearing my binder on my torso, otherwise the incision would have hurt so much more.

On the ferry from Victoria to Vancouver I managed to hurt my head when closing the SUV's door. The cut is very small, hardly a big deal. Except head cuts bleed like mother truckers. I knew I bumped my head, but did not realize I had a tiny cut. When SS saw the side of my head covered in blood, she completely freaked out. It's amazing how much a little cut can gush. I must have put a lot of force closing that door, because it happened Sunday morning, and while the bump is gone, the area still hurts.

We are understandably relieved that we managed to bring SS home in one piece. But the girl is still exhausted, waking her up has been upsetting. At least she was not bored senseless during spring break.

I was fixing SS's lunch and had a good laugh. Crunchy California rolls, cilantro and jalapeno hummus, with pita chips. Whatever happened to peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bag of chips? I have no idea, but that is one thing SS has never had in her lunch box.  SS is not the only one walking around like a zombie. I have never done such a lousy job arranging SS's sushi, but I was in zombie mode.

Exhausted but she managed a smile. We are hoping we all get over our tiredness, and colds soon. Then I can go over the pictures and post about our little adventure.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

You conquer the bridge...

You get all the sushi you can eat.