chasing crystal cove

it’s no secret that my son and i spend a majority of our time with our best friends: affectionately referred to as the bestie and the babies.  last weekend we made our seasonal debut trip to the beach.  we’d talked about it for weeks and were finally able to bring it to fruition. an afternoon with three kids and two snackin’ SuperMamas can run pretty costly so if and when we find something budget friendly, we’re in.

we all love the water.  our trips to the beach have become pretty status quo over the years. visiting at least two or three times in the summer months.  kids are so amazed and enamored with the sea. i have come to discover that my own love of the sea is long standing and strong. i have always been attracted to the sound, the sand, the shells and the animals. we have previously visited more popular and populated beaches… where finding your own sand station for the day is challenging. with the magic of four wireless digital devices a few traffic setbacks and this:

the “are we there yet?” trio. available in loud, louder and screeching.
SuperBoy, SweetHeart and The MadMan respectively.

we were steered to crystal cove. a state park.

after paying what we thought was an enormous amount to park and speaking with a very pleasant but slow talking park representative, we were advised that the beach itself was about an approximate half-mile walk away. we pressed on.

we decided to take a tour first to determine whether or not we wanted to set up camp. we gathered the children and the keys, trekked through the tall wildflowery path and voiced our skepticism and hunger along the way. there was a vantage point that allowed us to survey the cove itself.  it was quiet and serene. there were beach-goers, but plenty of space.

we decided to set up camp. i went back to the car and gathered everything we had determined to be necessary and required (remind me never to volunteer for that duty again).

with the help of passersby i managed to navigate the hill in the picture below with a packed ice chest, duffle bag, back pack, two more bags, two buckets, an over-sized shovel and all the while, wearing flip flops. this is also the main reason that our little camp is located right here. right in front. we didn’t realize it then, but we were right in the way of the state park beach cruising truck.

the hill of death. and that’s our camp. and that’s callie: my SweetHeart.

after setting everything in it’s place, applying sunblock and giving the sand toys, the kids scampered off until we managed to make our sandwiches and set everyone up to finally be able to eat. and we all ate. some of us (us mamas) standing, some of us (our babies) sitting and most of us quiet as a mouse.

turkey sandwiches, cheetos, grapes and gatorade.
it’s what future CHAMPIONS are made of.

we were all so happy that we stumbled upon this little place.  we had a great time.  i don’t really have a lot to say about it because i think i took some good pictures.

The MadMan, enjoying his own section of sand…

we ate, we played, we danced in the water. we fought off a very aggressive fearless seagull that pecked his way through a few paper towels (my guess is he was looking for crumbs and scraps, but all he got was paper — and probably some mild constipation).

the boys and i started the most non-sandcastle-like sandcastle compound, but the princess of the pack decided to completely mow over our hard work to construct a sand turtle safe ground:

sand turtle safe ground complete with seaweed retaining wall

eventually the sand got boring and the waves got interesting… the water was NOT hot, or even warm, but that doesn’t deter children very much. they ran into and out of the waves, with goosebumps on their arms and legs and teeth a-chattering. cute as can be.

watching the waves and poised for their attack!

look at him (AJ on the left), bent down low like a mouse-chasing cat! ready to pounce.

The MadMan never let the water catch him.. not once. but he had insurmountable fun waiting for the waves to TRY. and he threw sand at it. i still haven’t figured out why.

they got cold from time to time and i created a nice little “warming station”:

on a warm towel, under a warm towel, refueling with some fruit
(and sand “what’s crunchy, mommy?”)

or we buried them… … what? why are you looking at me like that? oh, ha! yeah, we BURIED THEM in the sand!

isn’t that the best expression? he looks like he heard the same thing “let’s bury him”… withOUT the “in the sand” part… 😀

that was pretty much our entire day. shannon took the kids down to the tide pools to see the sea critters. i held down the camp and had words with some birds. the SuperHeroes saw some things, touched some things and mistook a crab for a rock!! we all got sunburnt and the ride home was 300% quieter than the ride there. but what a day. and now… for my three favorite pictures:

seagulls. about every half hour for the duration of our stay…

via instagram: my SuperBoy just absolutely enjoying himself.

via instagram: my “disney” photo finish. the MadMan had just warmed himself in the sand next to me. when he jumped up and ran away, i got this shot. ❤ it.

the only thing i can’t really share is the look on their faces as they ran from the waves, shared with me the amazements they saw in the tide pools and how much it made me melt. they are all such good kids. these are the moments that will never leave our minds. “the little things”. a trip to the beach, some sand castles and free waves. it’s times like these that prove how amazing friendship can be and precious it is. we are all blessed.. and i will never let them forget it.

yay! i get to be a girl, at thirty six

SuperMama and the Infamous SuperBoy

i have a most interesting son. he turned four in april and everyday he says or does something that makes me laugh. i love to watch him play and discover new things or work himself into a better understanding of new vocabulary with a question and answer session. he learns something new everyday and so do i.

a couple of weeks ago, i went to see a comedy show at the local casino. thanks to Facebook, i won tickets and thanks to my aunt, i had a very cute new dress to wear. i don’t style my hair everyday or put on makeup so not only did he notice that i was doing these things, but he was questioning me repeatedly:

“mommy. wasshu doonan? what’s that you hair? what that you face? mommy go bye bye??”

i told him what i was doing and that yes, i was going bye bye. then i put on the dress! oh no. strapless and short. i had on some shorts underneath for obvious reasons and i followed that all up with heels. lord love a duck. you woulda thought i was naked. he looked at me, shied away a little, touched my arm, pushed me and then said:

“mommy!! i don’t like it. take it off.”

poor SuperBoy. upset that his mama wasn’t just a mama but a hot mama leavin’ for a night out on the town. i left, enjoyed myself and as soon as i returned home, my son (who should have been asleep) repeated himself:

“mommy!! i don’t like it. take it off.”

i retired my cute outfit for the evening, washed the makeup from my face, tied my hair up and changed into my ever-so-comfortable and familiar lounge wear. i laid down next to him and he stroked my face as if he was ensuring that i had shed my hot mama persona and returned to just plain ole mama. he gave me a hug and a kiss, turned his head and fell asleep within minutes.

i will be going on vacation at the end of the month and my sweet little man has escorted my aunt and i on several shopping trips. we have been so many places lately and tried on so many clothes that he actually stops outside the door of any clothing store stating:

“i don’t want it. i don’t want it.”

my aunt and i laugh and joke with him that we are just training him to have patience and tolerance for his future. he is such a ladies’ man and so very handsome, we are certain that he will be on many more shopping trips. whether he wants to or not. i said to him:

“bubb, this is what girls do. we shop. we do other things, but we love to shop.”

he did not agree. in fact he refused my statement and shot it down with his own:

“no mommy. no clothes. no more stores. YOU NOT GIRLS.”

yes. he told me that i was not a girl. hahahahhah! isn’t that hilarious? at first i just stated that “yes” i am a girl. that didn’t work. i tried to point out that my aunt and i are both girls. we both carry purses. nope, didn’t convince him. i tried to bring in other girls that he is familiar with :

“dd (my aunt) is a girl. Shannon is a girl. she’s a mama. she’s Callie’s mama. Callie is a girl. i’m a girl. i’m your mama. i’m a girl. you’re a boy. daddy’s a boy. grandpa is a boy. Alfonso is a boy. AJ is a boy. mommy is a girl.”

“no! no! you NOT girls.”

the two of us have tried on lots of outfits and dresses. he doesn’t offer any criticism on shirts, blouses, pants or shorts. but dresses are refused. every dress that i have put on was followed immediately by his signature statement:

“mommy!! i don’t like it. take it off!”

during our shopping adventures we have also tried on many pairs of shoes. many. some tall, some short, some flat. he stands firm on his “not girls” point of view. keep in mind, that this has been going on for three weeks now. three weeks! well, just the other day we went into a shoe store, mostly women’s shoes. i tried on several pairs of heels and sandals. he just looked at me and looked away. i found the sale section (my favorite section in any store) and i pulled several boxes from the shelf. my feet are wide and some shoes require a little finesse to get them on. he sat down beside me, but found more interest in the young lady that was helping her mom picks shoes for a class reunion. i tried these on, tried those on, asked him to put them back. he complied. he bounced around screeching and giggling trying to get this near-twenty-year-olds attention. hmph!

anyway, her mom and i chatted back and forth as we tried on these and those. we both went through several pairs and then went back to the first pair. as she and i stood there in black heels, talking, her daughter said “mom, what about these?” something about that statement brought the realization to my son that yes, in fact, his mom is a girl. we continued talking and as i sat down to take the shoes off and return to my mama-style and ever-so-comfortable flip-flops, my son says:

“ok, mommy. you girls.”

he finally admitted it. it was just so sweet. he almost seemed a little perturbed, but he had been through many experiences and it seemed as if he sorted through them one by one and finally decided to submit to the asinine notion that his mother was in fact a girl. preposterous!

he held my hand from the store to the car. i placed my new shoes in the trunk, secured him in his seat, kissed his forehead and shut the door. as i navigated myself around the trunk end of the car to the driver’s seat i smiled and giggled a little knowing that my son had turned another corner. he has no true concept of the differences between boys and girls, but just then he came to understand that his mama was a girl. the jury is still out as to whether or not that’s a good thing for him. but for me, it’s great. after thirty-six years as a girl, half of that as a woman and four as a mother, i have my son’s permission to actually be a girl. yay!

this picture is not at all related to the story. it's just a great face made in complete and total opposition to my request for him to "smile".

“the name is kenny. kenny… two hands”

i have a son.  his name is kenneth michael.  he is named after his grandfathers.  i was huge when i was pregnant with him and while he wasn’t the biggest baby ever, he is a very large preschooler.  he is currently forty-six inches tall and a whopping forty-four pounds.  he wears big boy clothes in a size five-six, and a size thirteen shoe.  he will be four years old this coming wednesday.  and while he is black, i have recently discovered that he is living the secret life of an italian gangster. yes. an italian gangster (and, i mean “italian gangster” in the nicest way possible).

as with all children, their desire to exert their independence outweighs their actual ability to handle the responsibility.  for instance, my son tried to pour himself a glass of orange juice the other day.  good thing those eyes-in-the-back-of-my-head were open and my ninja-like mommy reflexes were on point.  as the mommy, i always feel the need to try and avoid a spill or a “situation” before it actually happens.  when i get him something to eat, drink or snack on, he wants to carry it himself.  i am usually able to convince him to let me carry the spillables while he is in charge of the non-spillables.  most of the time, this works in my favor as he is mostly interested in consuming the food/drink items.  more so than he is interested in cleaning them up.  (we’ve been down that road too many times).  when he is permitted to carry an item, i always reinforce his duty with “two hands, kenneth, two hands.”

let me explain one thing real quick.  my son’s name is kenneth.  most people in our lives call him kenny or even ken.  except me.  i almost always call him “bubba”.  or bubs, bubbalicious, or bubbe.  when i use his name, i, more often than not, refer to him as kenneth.  i associate “kenny” with my father.  that’s what everyone used to referred to him as, so i make a point to use kenneth when talking about my son.  he refers to himself as kenny.  as a matter of fact, we had a little spat over it earlier today.

me: what’s your name?

him: i kenny.

me: what’s my name?

him: you mommy.

me: what’s mommy’s name?

him: neesha.

me: what’s kenny’s name?

him: i KENNY!

me: kenny’s name is Kenneth.

him: NO! i kenny!  mooommmmmy, i kenny.

me: ok. you can be kenny if you want to, but your name is kenneth.

him: hmph. (that’s him kinda blowin’ me off.  if it was me, i would have been saying “my ass!” if it was me (just sayin’)).

all-in-all, it was pretty dern funny.  he was very adamant (and it makes the rest of the story a little sweeter).

back to my story.  whenever he walks away, i try to remind him to use “two hands”.  it wasn’t until the fourth or fifth time that i told him “use two hands”, that i realized that he didn’t actually grasp the concept of “two” hands, he just knew that he needed to hold it.  so one afternoon, we get into this same little conversation around snack time.  it went like this:

me: mama’s gonna carry it.

him: no. kenny two hands.

me: no, let mama carry it.

him: no. kenny TWO HANDS!

me: no, bubs, let mama do it.

just then, he turned his head and cut his eyes at me (i know, right?) and with all the certainty of The Godfather himself, he says in a firm tone:

“no. kenny… two hands.”

even with that explanation i cannot tell you how these four words came across to me.  the pause between “kenny” and “two hands” was so purposeful. he had certainty in his voice.  it made me giggle a little because (in my head) i instantly heard the gangster voice, the one that says “fuggeddaboutit” or maybe even “luca brasi sleeps with the fishes.” i also pictured a classic expression, like that of my favorite gangsters: robert deniro and al pacino (in just about anything), when they are nodding their head, yes, repeatedly, but you already know that the answer is NOT yes,  and you are going to be told that the answer is NO in a very firm and undeniable manner.  a manner that, if you survive, you will never, ever, EVER forget.

or perhaps you’ll be made an offer?  one you can’t refuse?

this time, the voice said “kenny… two hands” making me picture two hands coming together as if they were… i dunno, say, around a neck?  kinda like:

“you ain’t neva heard the story of kenny? ‘kenny… two hands’??  that’s one guy i wouldn’t mess with.  word is … you don’t wanna make him use those ‘two hands’.  ’cause if he hasta use um, well… let’s just say, you’ll be breathless”

the story telling is over, but the hands remain in the silent, yet intimidating “immachokethe$h!touttasomebody” pose.  (like this, but without bart. ha!)

with that said, we went to the local walmart and i noticed some hats sitting up top the folded pant section.  there were many hats, but one caught my eye:

as soon as i put that hat on him, i just about fell out laughing.  too funny, and it brought that voice back in my head.  “kenny.  kenny… two hands.” i had recently discovered and i decided to have some fun:

doesn’t it look like a WANTED poster?  one of my favorites.  i can see my son rockin’ a designer three-piece tone-on-tone suit with some equally impressive and expensive shiny shoes. i laugh at the thought of him securing the neighborhood in exchange for jell-o or french fries.  keeping the cats out of the planters and the dogs off the lawns.  ensuring the senior citizen gardeners that they won’t have any trouble from the neighborhood strays “as long as [he’s] on the block.”  bahah!

anyway, let’s update the secret gangster activity with this most recent little doozy.  in the last month or so, my son has become increasingly affectionate.  he is now asking me for hugs and kisses and cannot, absolutely cannot, give me a kiss without saying “i lub yew too.” (i ❤ it).  but this new activity?  i dunno, you tell me.  he’ll give me a hug, then a kiss on the lips. he leaves his right hand on my shoulder and with his left hand, he grabs my lower jaw and turns my head (for me) to my left.  he then kisses my right cheek, turns my head to my right and kisses my left cheek.  he says “i lub yew too” as he walks away.

ya get that?  the boy is kissing me on both cheeks.  the way full blooded gangster men kiss other full blooded gangster men at family functions, gangster meetings and obviously, funerals.  ya feel me?  funny.

what does my son do when i’m not looking?  perhaps my ninja-mommy skills are not what i need for this particular preschooler.  perhaps i need to be a mommy-CIA agent: tappin’ [his] cell, and the phone in the basement.”  my little gangster will be four years old this coming week.  “they grow up so fast” doesn’t even begin to cover how much happens in these first few years.  from growing inside to living outside.  from crawling to walking, followed immediately but running.  from toothless to talking.  and even when you think you know them, you learn something new.

perhaps instead of cupcakes and thomas the train birthday gifts, i should get him a nice prosciutto, some “al dente” pasta and a couple cannolis?  i wouldn’t want him to hafta use those “two hands”… ’cause “fuggeddaboutit”, i don’t wanna hafta use my belt.  (that’s right, i said it).