Sunday, June 21, 2015

Missing the Seasons

I  grew up in Northwestern Minnesota. After leaving the state, I've discovered that Minnesota is known for three things for people who have never been there: 1) Lakes, 2) Mosquitos, and 3) Frozen lakes/Subzero temperatures (and maybe a fourth: the accent). These are fairly accurate and numbers 2 and 3 are reasons I don't really miss living there.

But Minnesota has something else, something I do miss! Seasons. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter -- distinct weather changes that usually come at predictable times of the year. Summer was my favorite. I loved the sunshine and warmth. Growing up, it seemed like people could go on little mini-vacations every weekend -- tubing down the river, visiting someone's lake home, Flea Markets, camping, fishing, etc. There were plenty of things to do in the summer -- all of them wonderful . . . except mowing the lawn.

Summer 2013: Grilling on the back patio with the family

Fall was also a favorite. I love sweater weather . . . but not double-sweater weather. I loved the crisp air and the changing leaves. I love fall foods too -- pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, soups, etc.

Winter was hard. It is very beautiful -- trees blanketed with snow and icicles shimmering like crystals -- but it is so cold. And it's cold for a long time. As kids, we had a ton of fun outside. We made forts/tunnels through the snow drifts, giant snowmen, and had plenty of snowball fights; I loved ice skating too. I have memories of my dad coming in from doing chores outside and his beard would be covered in icicles and his glasses would fog up once he hit the warm air inside the house. I have no idea how many layers of clothes he wore everyday, but it was a lot.

Spring was often wet from all of the melting snow. There were floods somewhere every year. But the excitement of winter being over -- or almost over -- was enough to bring everyone's spirits up again!

I bring this up today because of some photos I saw online. My sisters were at a baseball game, the sun was shining, their sleeves were rolled up and they looked warm. And I remembered: It's summer there.

It isn't summer here. If I go to a baseball game, its cold. I would be wearing a sweater, a jacket and maybe a scarf. San Francisco has had the warmest fall and spring I remember in my five years here. It has often felt like Summer this year . . . until June. Now it's cool, not really cold. But I find myself putting on a sweater and wanting a hot chocolate.

Its weird and a little disorienting.  It feels like fall to me, but all of my social media friends remind me its summer . . . and I miss it. San Francisco doesn't get too hot or too cold -- it stays at fairly comfortable temperature year round.  We have a dry season and a rainy season (and lately the rainy season looked a lot like the dry season). I miss the changing seasons and the signals of time passing.

For Minnesotans, the weather changes and new seasons meant we change our wardrobe, our sport, and our hobby. Baseball gloves and balls come out in the spring and summer. Father's day is a great day for playing catch. But you put those things away when winter comes. We skate, ski and go sledding when the snow starts to fall. I miss the cues in California for when it's baseball season or hockey season . . . and forget that swimming lessons can be taken all year long! My wardrobe stays the same year round, layers being an important component to any outfit.

I am looking forward to spending a week in Minnesota next month! The very middle of summer promises to be warm and probably buggy. But we'll have a blast anyway -- we'll swim, bike, and grill out. And after one week, I'll probably be ready for our San Francisco fog again!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pet Peeves Revealed

Everyone has pet peeves. Some people shares those peeves out loud while others silently take the offense. I am the former. If you do something that bothers me, I will most likely say so. Sometimes I might take a few breathes so my anger doesn't show, other times . . . well, I'm sorry.

My husband is the latter. Well, I can't say that for certain. I don't know if he actually takes offense or not. You see, he has never actually told me of any of his pet peeves, nor has he ever pointed out anything that I do that bothers him. (And you all know I am not the perfect wife!) Could it be that nothing actually bothers him? That is what I was led to believe for these past six years . . . but I was corrected two weeks ago when we had a friend over.

Our friend was talking about a pet peeve he has with his wife. And Chris said, “Yeah, Emily does the exact same thing! I don't get it!” What? That bothers you?! I had absolutely no idea.

Now, when dealing with someone else's pet peeves we have two options. We can scoff and say “That bother's you? Don't be silly. Get over it,” or we can respect their opinion, have a little empathy (because you know how much you hate pet peeves) and try to correct your behavior . . . or at least lessen the frequency of said offense.

I'm trying to work on option two. After six years, I have discovered two pet peeves my husband has silently put up with: 1) I loose stuff all of the time/don't put things where they belong – my keys, wallet, phone, and more recently, laundry key-card and 2) I don't clear the timer on the microwave and I often open the microwave door before the cook time is finished. 

When we were first married, he did tell me he didn't like it when I squeezed the toothpaste from the middle. And he's right, it doesn't make much sense. He also mentioned once that the toilet paper should unroll from the top but we changed that after William was born. Both of these things he never got angry or said "You did it wrong!" or anything. He just fixed it. 

I appreciate his ability to not make a big deal of our differences and "just fix it" to his preferences. I can't say I've done the same for him, or anyone else for that matter. I asked him once if I had to worry about him keeping it all bottled it up inside and exploding one day . . . but I don't think that's his personality. 

I love finding new things out about my husband and our relationship. I wonder what the next six or sixty years will reveal!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Toddler Boy: 20 Months

Our little guy is 20 months old. He is talking up a storm, picking up new words everyday. He loves his books more than ever. His first words after waking up are usually, "book, book." So each morning we read for 15-20 minutes while he drinks his morning milk.

This month we have been experimenting with taking one nap instead of two. Sometimes it works well, sometimes he still needs two. We've been trying new things at the local recreational centers: Tot Play --where they have toy cars, push carts, balls, blocks and more to play with. Kind of like an "open gym" for babies. (I have been trying Zumba there on Saturdays.)

He loves the cars. He is coordinated enough now to get in and out mostly on his own and can move around some too!

William also loves to be a part of all things happening in the kitchen. He helps us prep eggs or pancakes for breakfast, he helps me make Chris's lunch for the next day and sometimes dinner. He also loves water play while we try to get the dishes done. If we are in the kitchen, William is usually on the chair right there with us.

Toddler Boy loves basketball. He has for quite sometime. We got him a full-size ball of his own at the Salvation Army a while ago and although it's bulky to take along to the park, it is his favorite thing. He watches basketball practices at a nearby gym with Chris almost every weekend and sometimes I will show him the skills I picked up in the 7th grade, too.

This past month he has been sick twice. Otherwise he a really happy little boy. He loves playing outside. We've had the blessing of having a few play-dates at a nearby park this last month too! The boys don't necessarily play together but they often want to be near each other and watch what the other is doing.

Trucks, trucks and more trucks. Dump trucks, firetrucks, ambulances, delivery trucks, mail vans, and cars. All are worthy of attention and excitement. We walked by three huge electric-company trucks the other day and William was having the best time admiring all of the equipment and all of the wheels or "wheols."

He is so much fun. And so sweet. He has mastered saying "Thank You" for nearly everything, he also loves "tray" trading toys. He loves joining someone on the see-saw and swings and is starting to notice when other babies aren't happy, often mimicking their cries. 

Our days are full, but so are our hearts.