So much beauty for which to be thankful today!

At the store,  flowers were on sale! I almost never buy fresh flowers, but they are so delightful to have. I think of them as a rare and splurgey sort of treat, and I have been yearning and yearning for them. Fresh flowers bring life to a room, vibrance, happiness. Talking with the flower manager and another nearby customer, I learned that we lucked out on the flowers because they had just been delivered but had some sort of wrong sell-by date…or something like that. Anyway, one set had a “Manager’s Special” sticker and the other set I bought was reasonable anyway. Plenty of flowers—enough to put some in a vase and to share with my friend Lauren who came over for lunch and to have the girls play. Fresh flowers are just so lovely…

Lunch with Lauren was a like eating with a sunbeam. She makes multitasking with two young children (Gracen and Madeleine) seem like a piece of cake, even when it’s not. Lauren was born to be a mama. Madeleine (21 months) is so sweet, and Lauren has taught her to respond, “Yes, Mama” when Lauren asks her to do something. Usually after they leave and I comment about how much I love her response, Katie will use “Yes, Mama” for a couple of hours. Thank you, Madeleine, for being a good influence! Katie is often sweetly obedient, though these days she has found a yen for attempting to negotiate, and she likes to catch me on technicalities. Talk about needing to use precise language! I usually say, “I love you so much; however, I don’t negotiate with children.” But it would have been easier in the long run to teach her “Yes, Mama”—don’t you think?

Lauren is also so good about explaining everything to Madeleine, and I can see the teacher in her coming out. Like my mom, she is able to diffuse any sort of fuss by taking it lightly and saying things like, “Are you being serious?” and giggling…which makes Madeleine laugh, too. I have the tendency to take a fuss of Katie’s—especially the pretend cries—and making way too serious a deal out of it, as though fake crying were some huge moral flaw to stomp out right this second. Of course fake crying is not desirable in anyone and we all do our best to nix the histrionics, but I think Lauren’s method is so much more effective: the fussing stops immediately, and the point is still made.  I have seen her do it before. It is similar to what my mom does when Katie fake-cries at her. I struggle to achieve the same tone, yet its efficacy is underscored when I watch that method succeed between another mother and child pair.

I think this was just as much my playdate with Lauren, as it was between the kiddos!

Lauren’s coming over was also the perfect reason to buy more cheese. I go absolutely doe-eyed in any cheese store or cheese aisle (as was the case today). Cheese, bread, and fruit is my favorite lunch in the world, and having a friend to share it with is even better. We tried an Irish Dubliner cheese today, along with a white Stilton with mangoes and ginger, and a brie. YUMMY!

After our friends left, we eventually made our way back into the backyard for more dirt play. Friend and former amazing student (she put up with me as a long-term sub when I was such a complete newbie, so she gets big kudos for that) Jenn Pesek suggested yesterday that we make rivers, reservoirs, and dams in our dirt—and boy, was that a winner! Katie called it our “Mud Festival” (apparently she has learned how to give special names to random days and events from her mother), and Eric even got involved toward the end. In fact, we all started throwing mud, first at the fence to make splatters (Dad, are you wincing?) and then at each other. Eric thought this was HIL-AR-I-OUS! He was laughing his deep gut laughs.

Yorba Linda childhood friend and fort-building buddy Ryan C. spoke yesterday of how his wife and children tend to a vegetable garden at his home, raised beds that have replaced the front lawn at his home. My friend Naheed suggested also the beauty of a thriving garden. I have thought of replacing some of our grassy space with a larger garden (we have our garden box, but I am thinking about a big garden). It would be a better use of water, space, and resource in the long run… My dad has a thriving compost pile, and I often think of making one of those to go with my dream-garden. It is something to aspire to. I need to practice on my smaller garden first, I think!

Happy dreams to all!