A Day At The Beach

My front room is a disaster again.  😦

What I wouldn’t give for a few feet of formal entryway, just a little something to soften the blow and keep every visitor from instantly seeing exactly how we live.

Right now, this space contains two large dishwasher-size boxes, a power sander, a heavy duty orange extension cord, a laundry basket full of cds, and five extra pieces of furniture.  I can’t stand it.

There is clutter everywhere.  A lot of it was generated by the little boy, but plenty of it is mine and a bit belongs to the husband too.

I want to get organized before the holidays blow in, you know?

Gotta tackle this disaster!

There is a loose plan brewing in my head for all of it, but it seems I never have time to implement the plan.  When I do get a few free minutes, I am usually so exhausted that I haven’t the brain power to make good decisions.

Consequently, I am easily defeated, sometimes teary, and a little depressed over this space.

Today, I needed a distraction from it.

Thank goodness we had plans for some family time at the beach.  🙂

Husband and the boy ventured much farther into the water than I cared to go.

I took pictures with my crappy phone.

My favorite part of the day (not) was trying to discreetly change to our clothes, in the street, next to the car, while another vehicle full of beach goers waited for our spot.  Awkward, but sooo San Diego, right?  😀  Heh heh.

Enjoy the pix!

Happy Sunday!

P.S. Come back in the next few days to find out if I solved my front room clutter dilemma.

P.P.S. Do you like my hat?

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♥♥

Flinn Springs Park in El Cajon

We took the boy to Flinn Springs County Park yesterday.

It was beautiful and surprisingly empty.

The last time we went to Flinn Springs, we were turned away by the ranger, right at the gate.  There was a birthday party going on and the guests had filled the parking lots, leaving day use visitors out of luck.

We were caught off guard, had no solid back-up plan, and ended up a little disappointed in our family outing that day.  😦

Yesterday made up for that.

Flinn Springs is a huge park with a giant play structure…

beautifully constructed gazebos with a little stage and a skylight…

lots of shade and picnic areas…

a long creek with babbling bubbles…


beautiful old trees…

humongous boulders and views of the mountains…

and a lot of fairly safe room to run and run and run and climb and run some more…

The boy had a great time!  😀

We explored the shadier areas of the park, but skipped the trails because of the heat.  I’m not sure what those trails are like – how long, if they are shaded, if they include any hills, etc. – so you will have to check the park info or see for yourself on that.

Flinn Springs has handicapped visitor access areas, water fountains and decent restrooms with stall doors, but no soap or paper towels.  It also has a second, much smaller play structure at the very edge of the park.  That one is right next to a private residence though and it feels less airy and inviting than the other.

Over all, Flinn Springs Regional Park is a great place to take kids for a short dose of the great outdoors.

When the little boy finally exhausted his energy, we hit the road and found an IHOP.  We were sweaty and dirty, but no one in the restaurant seemed to care.

The boy was an angel while we ate.  As usual, he inhaled a full cup of chocolate milk, then sipped down three little cups of creamer like they were tiny aperitifs, he nibbled on a pancake, and then made an entree of croutons with ranch dressing.  His dainty ways caught the attention of an older couple sitting at the table next to ours.

When we got up to leave, the lady leaned over with a big smile and said “you have a very well behaved young man there.”  Her husband added “and he’s a good looking young man too.”

I thanked them both for their kind words and wished them a pleasant day.

Then, my well behaved, handsome son pointed to the lady’s legs and said “VEINS!”

We left pretty quickly after that.  😀

Happy Monday!

P.S.  When I was messing with the camera to get the right flash for that picture of the hole at the base of the tree, husband came up behind me and did that spider tickle thing on my neck.  I knew it was him, but it CREEPED ME OUT.  Bad husband.  😡

♥♥

It’s Friday Night.

I’m already in my jammies – so much more comfy than my heavy black jeans.

The boy has showered, put on his jammies, played out his evening computer time, and is happily eating a fruit roll while I type.

He’ll be off to bed shortly and it’s not even 8:00 p.m.  I still get knocked over in amazement at our evening routine.  I can’t believe it actually works, but the little boy is definitely a creature of habit.  All we had to do was make him a habit that we liked.

Husband just returned from the store with stuff for cheese bread.  We had a craving.

The house is kind of a wreck.

There are still balloons all over the floor from the boy’s birthday party on the 16th.  Man, was that really two weeks ago?  No wonder some of the balloons look like this:

and greasy these:

and pointy this:

We like to leave stuff lying around after our special occasions.

I guess I’d better pop the balloons this weekend though.  Three of my friends posted comments on Facebook today about the sudden appearance of Halloween stuff in the stores.  Seriously?  Seriously.

Even more disturbing is the fact that I’ve already started thinking about decorating for Christmas.  😮

I can’t help it.  I went to Bazaar Del Mundo on Tuesday.  That place always makes me think holidays.  Or rather, HOLIDAYS!!!

It didn’t help that they had this charming addition to the painted tin ornament display:

I had to have him.

And really, if you’re willing to purchase a Christmas ornament in July, then you’re pretty much a sucker for all things holiday, right?  Bring it on!  I’m ready!

Halloween first though…

Happy Friday!

♥♥

P.S. What are you doing this weekend?  We’re probably going on another little nature walk.  I’ll post pictures if we actually do it!  😀

Sweaty, Loud & Colorful Hike

The husband and I took the little boy for a walk at
Otay Valley Regional Park
this morning.

It was sweaty.

It was loud.

It was colorful.

It was beautiful.

You should try it!

Happy Sunday!

P.S.  Do any of you know if those are blueberries in
the pictures 3rd and 4th from the end?
I’ve never seen them growing before…is that them?

♥♥

9th Birthday Pictures

The Doll

The boy was very excited about his new doll.  He held her sweetly and seemed proud to pose with her.

These two pix are my favorites:

It pretty much went downhill from there.

The Cake

The boy chose a Happy New Year theme.  He liked the clock and all the colors.

It has only taken me nine years to figure out exactly what kind of cake to order:

1/4 sheet of chocolate AND
a 1/4 sheet of white,
both with white buttercream filling,
frosted & decorated together as a single cake.

It’s not as pretty later in the day, but both halves taste really good.

The final improvement over last year’s version was the omission of the fruity filling.  The sliced strawberries do that sliced strawberry thing and look kinda scary the next morning.  Blech.  😕  They had to go this time.

This year, his name was even spelled correctly.  Thank you, Vons bakery manager lady!

There’s a ton of it left in the kitchen.  Wanna come by and have a slice?

The Helium Balloons

I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it is to me that we didn’t get a single photo of the helium balloons.  😦  I thought they were magical.

Our front room has a 24-foot ceiling.  Sounds grand, but it’s really more problematic than anything else.

Every year, the balloons head up there and are impossible to get down when the kids want to play with them.  I’ve never really liked tying the balloons to chairs or anchoring them with toys or weights, so this year I paid extra to have twenty-foot ribbons.

The balloons floated skyward as usual, but the long ribbons (two dozen of them) dangled down and made a little rainbow ribbon forest that we could walk through.  It was very festive and I am determined to do it every year from now on.

The floral department was NOT pleased with my request.  Right from the start, I even offered to pay more and they still gave me crap.  Then they called me at home to give me more crap.  World ribbon shortage or something.  Annoying.  Small minded.  Not service oriented.  Whatever.

It’s funny to me that the skills I’ve built advocating for my kid spill over to stuff like this.  Heh heh.

The Other Balloons

The husband blew up a zillion extra balloons to leave outside the boy’s door the night before the party.  This is what he woke up to:

The front door was like a vacuum.  Every time we opened it for a new guest, the balloons were sucked out at lightening speed.   The scramble to retrieve them was funny, but rather unsuccessful.  Many met their ends on the porch or lawn.  It was kind of a nice icebreaker for our friends and family though!  😀

Miscellaneous Other Birthday Photos

Happy Birthday Party, Little Boy!!

P.S…

Dumbest thing I did at the party?

Putting the pizza boxes on top of the piano.

The “protective” towels made it worse.

Jenifer, don’t look.  😦

Anybody know a good piano restoration service?  😐

♥♥

Tiramisu, OCD, Pennies & Pasadena

Sweets for me and my sweets

There’s tiramisu in the fridge again.  (Insert contented happy dance here.)

It’s such a mess to make, but so worth the effort and the cocoa dusted counter tops.

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate grout?

It’s everywhere in my home and nowhere in my dreams.

And this evening, my grout is cocoa powder brown.  😐

But like I said, there’s tiramisu in the fridge again.

And it’s the good kind.

The almond kind.  

It’s not the rum kind.

It’s this kind.  🙂

OCD and then some

The little boy is going through an increased phase of obsessive compulsive behaviors again.

He has some of these behaviors all the time, but every month or so they intensify for a while.

It makes us tired.  And frustrated.  And teary.  And sometimes really, really mad.

He will insist we do things for him that we haven’t done since he was a baby, or ever.

Tonight, for instance, he called me to come into the bathroom as he was finishing his shower.

“Mama, pull the plug?”

I’ve really never pulled the plug for him after his bath time, but suddenly, he is desperate for me to do it.

When I refuse and explain that it’s his responsibility to pull the plug, he starts a tantrum.

I leave the room.  😐

He has also started asking us to push him or carry him everywhere again.

THAT makes me lose my mind.

I sit at the dining table with my cereal and he wants me up so that I can carry him three feet, from the kitchen to the couch.

I ask if his legs are broken.

Sometimes, he gets the point.

Sometimes, not so much.

And just now, he was standing in the kitchen with me.

He was waving a cloth napkin in his hand.

“Mama put the napkin down?”

He wanted me to take it from him so that I could put it on the counter.

Um…

no.

You get the picture.

Exhausting.  Exhausted.

Penny for your thoughts.  And your patience, please.

Before we weened ourselves away from the little boy’s private psychologist, we got one last piece of great advice.

She suggested we offer him a penny every time he waits patiently at a red light.

Until we started doing that, he would absolutely freak out in the car.

He doesn’t like to wait.

He doesn’t like things he can’t control.

Traffic + his being in the backseat with a limited view = intersection of all anxiety, mine and his.

I’ve written before about being pelted in the head with McDonald’s toys, having my seat kicked, having my ear drums pained by sudden blood-curdling screams, and having papers and magazines torn to pieces.

All because of red lights.  Or pedestrians.  Or bicycles.  Or buses.

Being in the car pretty much sends my kid into the deepest recesses of his autism.

Or at least it did, until we started the pennies.

Now, things are usually okay.

And this week we took the pennies to Vons and threw them into a CoinMaster machine.

$16.00.

Unreal.

He bought another nightlight.  😀

Pasadena Partners

In the wake of some marital strife – no, you don’t get details – I have concluded that the husband needs a fabulous weekend like I had in Pasadena.

I suggested it today and though we do have a lot on the calendar in the next several weeks, I think it will work with some creative planning.

So, husband, start thinking about all the guy stuff you wanna do.

I will help with reservations.  🙂

And that’s all she wrote.

Happy Thursday.

♥♥

Right Back Where We Were

The little boy had a meltdown last night.

I didn’t plan our afternoon very well and we all paid for it.

I scheduled our contractor to come over around 4:00 to finish up the baseboards in the boy’s bathroom.

I knew he would probably call and say he was running late.  I was right.

Even when he told me he would get here at 5:00, I knew it might not be until 6:00 that the doorbell rang.

That’s just how home repairs go.  Everything takes longer than you think and if you’re the last stop of the day, you’re at the mercy of the delays in the job before you.

I get it, but none of it means anything to the little boy.  He just wanted to take his bath at the same time he always takes his bath.

But he couldn’t, because I wouldn’t let him go upstairs with the nails and broken boards and the man in there doing work.

I couldn’t let my kid strip to his birthday suit and take a steamy shower in the room where this guy was cutting and nailing and putting epoxy.

My son’s lips got twisty, his eyes filled with tears, and he started to knock things over.  First the little trampoline, then a foot locker in the front room.

Upstairs, the contractor was sweating away and probably hearing all of it, including my own deteriorating demeanor.

The whole situation kind of sucked.

Husband finally managed to get the boy interested in the bathtub in our room, but it was dusty and had to be cleaned because we never use it.

Once husband had wiped the whole thing out and filled it with clean soapy water, the little boy stepped in.

But he never sat down.  He had bubbles and water up to his knees, but the tears kept coming and he just didn’t enjoy the experience.

After a couple of minutes, he stepped back out and just stood there.  He was still very upset.

It was around 8:00 p.m. when our contractor finally left.  I walked him outside and apologized for what he witnessed as he worked.  He was gracious about it and even apologized right back for coming so late.

Back in the house, the little boy was finally settled into his evening computer time.  He was mostly over the disappointment of the bath issue, but his mood was volatile until time for bed.

I was already at the end of my emotional rope.  Today, I feel kind of numb from it all.  I went for a walk to clear my head this morning, but I really just muddied it further.

There is too much to do, no one to help me, and I am tired.

The boy’s upsets take everything out of me and leave me defeated sometimes, especially when there is anything else dragging me down.

My lovely Pasadena weekend seems like such a distant memory.

♣♣