Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cali, Part 4, Everywhere Else

Sarah finished her business on Thursday, in a rather eventful way, but that is not my story to tell, so I don't feel right writing about it.... We also saw Chris and Carter on Thursday, but I was feeling pretty overextended and didn't take any pictures. Chris took a couple, so hopefully I will get those from her. On Friday morning, we got some portraits done of all three kids together. I was really glad we did because they came out great.

Sarah really wanted me to see Katie's house in Newport, so we planned to head down there on Friday afternoon. The place was amazing. Sarah has been telling me about it for ages. Everything is custom designed and built. The entryway looks like a courtyard, with an imported fountain. There is ancient Venetian stone incorporated throughout the house and outdoor area. Some of the walls completely fold away to give the feeling of being on a patio, which is amazing on a beautiful Southern California Autumn afternoon, especially so as they have a view of the ocean. Katie's mom, Susan, is really into spirituality from all over the world and even has a room devoted to the feminine divine where she holds Goddess meetings.

Of course Orion's favorite place was the pool, which, by the way, has a waterslide and separate waterfall cascading into the pool, with a little grotto and seating area behind the falling water. I really should have taken more pictures of the house, but I didn't want to look like a tourist LOL! Oh, and the pool and spa were all saltwater. No chlorine - heavenly!

Orion also laid claim to this floatie.
It is really designed for babies, but I couldn't find a weight limit on it, and he is so skinny he fit right in! He insisted on sitting in it backwards, though. Not sure why that seemed the right way to him, but he got in and out several times, always the same way. Maybe the backrest seemed like a chestplate?

They had two big dogs he had a blast with.
The chocolate lab was awesome as she would jump right in the pool after the toys. The German Shepherd was more cautious. It was funny when Orion would throw stuff up on the waterfall area. The dogs were competitive about the toys, but it was a challenge for them to get to certain spots, so it was really interesting to watch them puzzle it out. Susan made a comment at one point about how amazing Orion was in the way he interacted with the dogs. He has alot of practice with Kona I guess! Susan totally got Orion. She raised several boys herself, one with severe ADHD, so she thought Orion was a little saint! Oh, and she breastfed all her kids until they chose to stop! It's always awesome to meet somebody who did that when there was so little support for it.

OK, does this picture look like an ad or is it just me?

Chillin' in the cuz. Sarah took this picture. I guess my head didn't make the cut LOL, but Orion sure looks cute in the foreground.
It really was nice in there. It wasn't too hot, so Akasha could even get in a little bit more than she was in this picture. Sometimes I think she likes me alot more than she did a few years ago, and sometimes we fall back into the same old patterns. She was horrified I wouldn't shave my armpits before we went to Newport. She said the people there would judge me and blah, blah, blah. I told her to just tell them I am from Oregon and they would understand. hahahaha

Akasha, Sarah and Katie. This picture cracks me up because Akasha looks so interested in what Katie is eating. She actually looks like she is craning her head to check out what is in her hand.
Cute Spa Girls
We ended up staying for dinner. It was a bit of an affair as they had family coming in from out of town and were celebrating one of the boys birthdays as well. I was a bit worried about how Orion would do at dinner, but thankfully Sarah was willing to chase him around the house as he went to and fro from the table just like he does at home. :)

After dinner, Susan and I sat and talked for quite awhile - mainly about Akasha. Susan held her for a long time, and I wasn't sure I would get her back! Who could blame her? ;) The interesting thing was how she started telling me all this stuff she was picking up on. The first thing was that Akasha is a healer. She said she is from a long line of medicine women and is connected into that circle. She thought she was most recently a healer from the Eskimo regions, but then she said she was getting Hawaiian vibes as well. She kept saying she was "pure love". Aren't all babies, though? :) But then she got really serious and told me Akasha was one of the oldest souls she had ever encountered and that she was going to have alot to teach us all. Whoa. I may have a big responsibility on my hands!

We were invited to spend the night, but I decided to head out. I think it was a good decision as Akasha slept almost the whole way back. The traffic on the 405 sucked getting down there, and we had to make a couple stops, and it might not have been much better going the other way in the daytime, even on a Saturday.

On Sunday we went to visit my mom's grave.
Orion seemed fascinated by the idea my dad's name was on the marker as well. We walked around, and he wanted me to read him all the names and tell him which ones had just one name and which had two, and if both people were buried already or if one was still alive like his grandpa. As is typical at age four, death intrigues him.

The Circle of Life
Akasha seemed to want to nurse, so what better place?

The view up the hill. Several of our family members and friends are buried here, so they like to joke about them partying at night. Yes, I come from a clan of drinkers.

We decided to stop at the Simi mall on the way home as it was a hot day and they have a water feature I thought Orion would enjoy. We went to the bathroom first, and I saw the dumbest sign ever:
OK then.... Did they design a breastfeeding symbol for nothing? :sigh:

Said rooms:
So this brought up all kinds of thoughts for me. The first being, why do nursing mothers and babies need to be hidden away? Then I have to remember some women do prefer to have privacy, and some even have religious reasons for being discreet. Even if I would like to tell them they should be an accepted part of society, it isn't my decision to make for them. And to be honest, this is an outdoor mall without any comfortable seating, and it gets reeeally hot in Simi. Having a cool and comfortable place to nurse is actually pretty nice. The rooms were fairly large, so they would be comfortable for another small child or two, and cheerfully decorated. So good for them I guess. Just change the signs!

Gramps and the little monkey chillin' in the shade.
One of the cool spitting heads.
They fill up a little depression. It is a great design for Orion because he doesn't like the fountains that shoot straight up from the ground.
Splash king. People sitting nearby beware!
Akasha Rose dips her toes. :)
Ah, something ne

Looks like a thumbs up from Orion!

This was a pretty good trip! Better than I expected to be honest. My dad loved holding Akasha, so it was easy for me to cook and get other things done. The nights went WAY better than I expected. Akasha thankfully slept on our bed by herself, then I would get up and get Orion ready for bed, read him a story, brush teeth, etc. Then he would bring his DS to bed with the sound off and play for a little while before going to sleep. It was as simple as that.

Sarah was incredibly helpful. She cooked, she cleaned, she helped with Orion. My dad would cry when we all sat down to dinner together because he said it was so nice. I didn't expect him to still be this sad. :( He would start crying over the littlest thing, like getting a hot dog at Costco and talking about how much my mom had liked them. His memory has also gotten WAY worse, and he isn't going out much. I am worried about him, but I know he would never consider going into a retirement community. I don't know if memory ever gets worse then better in response to a crisis period, but I have my fingers crossed he will get a little better after awhile.

We have decided to drive back in my dad's van, and Sarah is going to come with us, then use part of our train credit to go back to CA. Hopefully it won't take us more than 2 or 3 days!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cali, Part 3, mostly Around the House

On our way to pick up Sarah. Orion said he was bored, so I suggested taking some pictures. Here are a couple of them:

Kids at work at the kitchen table.
More of Grandpa lovin' on Little Miss.

First picture of my three kids together! Not a very good one, but it's still the first.
Photo by request of Orion.
Goofy monkeys
This is one of those family heirloom types of chairs. Not sure if it is actually worth anything, but it belonged to my Grandpa and carries alot of memories.
And it also leans way back when there is nobody in it, so it was a great place for Akasha to sit by herself!

"Good evening, and welcome to masterpiece theatre..."
"Sleeping Baby Hypnotizes Grandfather"
This was one of those funny moments because Akasha had fallen asleep and my dad was dozing off at the same time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cali, Part 2- Around the House and a Gardening Project

Grandpa gets to know the baby. :)

Playing with feet is very important.
Old Blue Eyes
When Sarah got off work today, she wanted to go buy plants for a project. My dad recently redid a part of the yard around the arch Ron and I were married under. He laid bricks in the part under it and planted some climbing plants at the base on each side. There is also recently cleared dirt on either side, so Sarah had said this morning she wanted to plant flowers there. Then later today, my dad said the same thing! So when I picked her up, we headed over to Home Depot to pick some stuff out. She chose, salvia, snapdragons and pansies.

Working on the right side. Orion is apparently supervising haha.

Trying to pull a root out that proved too tough for him. My dad had to get get in there with a trowel and chop it out.
Earthy boy
Mmm, dirt. He looks like he is about to take a bite of it!
Akasha chillin' on the grass.

Feet in the grass for the first time - an important usually overlooked first. :)
Grandpa saying hello.
All done! If you look closely, you can see that the arch perfectly frames the Simi sign on the hill. Hmmm. Not sure what the gnome is all about, but then again, there was a rooster there at first. ???
The result of all that grass kicking.
Grandpa helps Orion get on one of the many plastic horses in the yard.
Do you ever have the feeling you are being followed?