31 for 21: Day 5: HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR ZUZU!

Happy Birthday dear Zuzu! Today is your 8th birthday.

Oh dear Zuzu, where have the years gone?! As you like to tell it, you’re practically 10! I have a feeling you are going to love being 8 though. The older you get, the more you come into your own. The stronger you feel the urge to lead, to organize, to understand your world around you. You remain a kind, sensitive, strong, smart and loyal girl. One who watches out for what is expected of her and her peers and tries to help things happen that way. You watch out for your sisters as much as you mother and play with them. They learn so very much from you. You’re enthusiasm for the everyday fills your lungs, your legs, your heart and your brain. You are in second grade now. You are acing this thing called school. You welcomed your little sister in to your community, your school this year and take on such a big responsibility of ensuring that she is ok. You not only asked for this responsibility, but were sad when it was suggested you didn’t have to do that. You take pride in your school, your community and your Girl Scout troop. We love you so baby girl!

Zuzu’s Favorite Things:

Favorite TV Show: My Little Pony

Favorite Movie: Equestria Girls

Favorite Breakfast: pancakes & waffles, or a breakfast sandwich from McDonald’s

Favorite Lunch: corn dog, cheese ravioli or cheeseburgers

Favorite Dinner: Ravioli

Favorite Fruit: strawberries

Favorite Veggie: full size crunchy carrots

Favorite Dessert: any kind of sugar

Favorite Drink: juice, milk & Sprite

Favorite Color: orange & purple & white

Favorite Restaurant: Papa’s & Ring Restaurant (El Jimador)

Favorite Sport: jump-rope team

Favorite Toy: Barbie Dolls & My Little Pony Dolls

Favorite Song: Let it go! Any Katy Perry Songs, But I’m only Human

Favorite Book: Junie B. Jones and Rainbow Magic Books

Best Friends: Sophie, Annie, Micayla, Lucy, Gracie, Averi S (from Kindy), EriKa, Averi S (from first grade) Abby & Emma

Favorite Day of the week: Weekends- I love playing!

Favorite Time of the day: Bedtime- I can snuggle my family

Favorite Season: Fall and Winter- because Fall is when my birthday is and Winter has snow and I love to eat snow and go sledding!

Favorite Outfit: Elsa Dress!

Favorite Family Vacation: Del Mar- whenever I get to see my Birthday Twinnie!

Favorite Family Outing: going swimming

Favorite thing ever:Snuggling my mommy, playing “Where’s Maddie” with my Daddy, painting nails with my sisters, playing with my toys, getting to open birthday presents, watching TV

Favorite day of the year: My birthday!

Favorite place to go: to parties and to my friend’s houses

Favorite Holiday: Halloween & Christmas because you get candy and presents

What’s the thing you are most looking forward to about being 8: Being an even number and getting that much closer to being taller than my mommy

The worst thing ever at this age is: doing chores…..

five minute friday: hands

…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.

DSC_2103

Go:

“Quail- do you want to go see your sister’s end of the year show this morning?” Her face lights up as she hollers yes, jumps twice for good measure and starts to tell the baby what is on the agenda. These sisters- they are there for each other. They don’t think about it they just are.

As we press open the weighted door to the first grade classroom I spy Zuzu sitting criss-cross applesauce by a set of desks close to the door. Our eyes meet and crinkle simultaneously as we slip into the full classroom near her spot. We are headed to a therapy appointment for the Quail within the hour and Zuzu’s teacher generously offered to let Zuzu’s group go first for their Reader’s Theater performance knowing how much it would mean to Zuzu that we are there to bare witness. Her group reads “The Fourth Little Pig” and Zuzu narrates her highlighted sections from her paper script. When they finish she rushes back to the area we are seated in and presses herself as close between the two desks separating us as she can manage so that she can momentarily bridge the gap between her school and home life. As the last group finishes up and I reach to the desk to set the camera down I see the girl’s hands entwined under the desk. The Quail’s small hand gently stroking Zuzu’s skinny fingers as she grips the Quail’s leg. They aren’t looking at each other and don’t appear to be otherwise aware of each other. Except they know. They orbit each other unconsciously. Drawing each other into their days and worlds.

This unconscious grace and acceptance, it has been there since Zuzu was first made a sister. As I sat on my rumpled bedsheets in the afternoon light nursing my newborn Quail, Zuzu crawled up to us all doe-eyed cautiousness not wanting to disrupt the nursing she herself held dear. I invited her in and as she joined us I looked down to see her hand protectively hovering over her new baby sisters, expressing more than she was able to say.

IMG_3509

Stop

corner view: something to celebrate!

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

 

I’ve put a lot of effort into reclaiming myself this past year. After almost 8 years of mothering I’ve been feeling more than a bit, well, not myself. My energy level has waned, my weight has bloomed, I’m irritable, scattered and tired. So 6 months ago I started the Couch to 5K program during my lunch hour. I figured that since I had spent over 3 years of lunch hours pumping milk for the babies I could  spend that time exercising for me- and also for them- happy mom = happy kiddos and all that. After 4 months of regular running and upping my walking time outside of that though, I lost 6 inches around my waist but no real change with my weight. So in February I restarted Weight Watchers- fast forward 7 weeks and I’m down 12 pounds- I’m on my way! In February members of my on-line fitness group that I had started last fall when I began running decided we needed to create a team for the upcoming Color Run which was scheduled for April in our town for the first time. In total there were 40 of us Tired Tiger Moms and our little runners. And the day was great! If you’ve never done a Color Run or any kind of race- take this from a tired momma who has yet to feel a runner’s high- sign up for a Color Run! This world-wide phenomenon of a 5k raises money for your local charities and offers a light-hearted emphasis on fun and fitness. When my friends first mentioned it I was fairly certain I was not going to join in. After completing the C25K program I found I really didn’t enjoy running for 20-30 minutes straight and I was constantly looking for excuses to not go out and run. So I switched over to a more Jeff Galloway- type approach and settled in with doing a 5 minute warm-up and cool down with 10 intervals of 2 minutes run/1 minute walking in between three times a week. While I’ve managed to keep it up, I’ve yet to say I truly enjoy it while I’m doing it. I’ve tried audio books, Netflix and Pandora to keep my interest up. There has been a noticeable benefit in trying to keep up with the kiddos and not feeling winded, cranky and exhausted playing with them. Then the thermometer rose to 76 degrees and the end of my outdoor running stretch was clearly in sight. I’m already up at 6 am and I barely have time to use the loo on my own in the evenings- so switching to a cooler time of day is not likely. I had a little on-line temper tantrum “announcing” that I was done running until the autumn, and then, what do you know- the thermometer and I kept at it.

This past weekend came The Color Run. Zuzu and I had agreed to join in but we both had our own set of worries. For Zuzu- she was convinced a bear would appear on the race course and spent the morning of the race plotting how she would finagle getting up on the bear to ride him the remainder of the course. For me the thought of being up early on one of the two mornings I get to sleep my exhausted self in so that I could run in the cool morning air and have paint thrown at me was just not appealing. Zuzu also had created an image of buckets of liquid paint being thrown at us as we tried to run away. Yet, bless her devoted little heart- in spite of bear and paint attacks she applied her HAPPY arm tattoo, donned her Color Run glasses and anxiously followed her beloved mother out to the car. When we arrived at the scene of what can only be described as a rock concert- both of our eyes widened- mine in excitement, hers in alarm as I tried to herd over to the run’s mascot- the Runicorn. Shaking and clinging like a baby monkey to me she absolutely refused to go anywhere near her favorite animal in the world. Let’s just say she was insistent enough that I am clear it would be folly to pay for a trip to Disney for this child. We tried to join in the warm-up work-out but in spite of the pop music and enthusiasm around us she remained stricken at the thought of the paint and bears. Once we were on the course her typical anxiety acts started in, she alternated telling me her heart and tummy hurt and that she didn’t want to wear the fluorescent tutu I had gotten her with pointing out how ridiculous men looked in tutus. She was so-not-happy. And then we got to the first color area. As we ran through the fine mist of powder and wiped it off of our glasses she looked down trying to spy the streaks of yellow. About a half-mile out from there when we spotted the pink station her pace picked up and her complaints faded as she ran up to the people cheering to be sprayed. From that point on she was sold. This was fun! We alternated walking and running per her requests and six months of prep-work let me keep up with her. After we got our water and kind bars and the paint throws in the finish galley started she perked up and asked to get up on my shoulders to cheer and eventually got herself over the fencing and up on stage to join the little runners in their celebration. Full throttle this girl of mine- all or nothing. Win big or stay home. Next year- we’re bringing the whole family. Fitness seems to be the new us. My first race at age 41, Zuzu’s first race at 7. Now that’s something to celebrate!

 

Ps- Oh and I also gave up caffeine last week. While I’m not quite ready to celebrate this experiment, I am pretty impressed with how good I feel without it- I see a new more focused, calm, happy energized family life coming my way in this next year.

Next week- Back to a regular yoga practice. Yay!