Friday, September 21, 2012

F is for Friday....and Fire

Today proved to be very exciting for our little street. What started out as an afternoon at the park for us and two of our neighbors turned into a frantic race home after seeing a growing, black column of smoke rising from the VERY close proximity of our houses.

Imagine this. It's Friday afternoon. The kids have finished a busy week at school and are ready to blow off some energy at the neighborhood park. The girls see quite a few friends at the park, including two of our neighboring families. Everyone is having a grand time - playing, laughing, chatting. You notice a strong smoke smell and someone comments "Is someone throwing a barbecue without us?" There are a few chuckles, but withing minutes the air gets hazy and smokey. You and a few of the moms walk from the playground to the street when you notice a thick column of smoke rising from the next street down. You look at the roof lines of the houses and the realization hits you like a ton of bricks...that smoke is coming from YOUR street, very close to YOUR house. Your heart drops.

As other moms start to scramble for their phones, you find yourself quickly gathering the kids, the stroller, the scooters, and everything else. You hastily leave the park, one set of neighbors ahead of you, the other coming quickly behind in their car. As you approach the corner, someone runs past yelling "Who has the yellow Mercedes? Who has the yellow Mercedes?" That's not yours, but that car belongs to the grandparents of family who lives directly across the street from you. You try to stay calm but the fear is rising inside you. You know the family isn't home - the grandparents and the son were at the park with you, the parents are away for an anniversary over-nighter. But the dog is in the side-yard, and you know she must be terrified. You turn the corner and instantly see a huge fireball. You cross to your side of the street and get a little closer so you can see what's going on. The fire is two houses down and across the street from your own. The fence and a truck are on fire, but it seems to be spreading and the smoke is ridiculously thick. The firefighters have already arrived and are doing their thing. The crowd of spectators is growing, and you find yourself praying the fire doesn't spread. You make sure your kids are safe with your neighbor and out of the way before you go to the get the dog. You have to. She is part of the family and you know she has to be terrified. You quickly cross the street, move through the crowd and the smoke, get to the gate, and find her trembling and panting. Relief. She's okay. The leash must be inside, so you latch on to her collar and guide her away from the chaos. You get back to the your kids, only to find 2 of them confused and crying (insert guilt trip here). You grab everyone in a hug, let them know it's all going to be okay, and sit back to watch the growing blaze with wonder, awe, and amazement. 

Once the fire was under control and things calmed down a bit, the girls forgot entirely about being scared and had a great time. One of the firemen asked the kids to help him turn off the hydrant - they each got to take a turn. They also got to go on the truck and see all the cool buttons and gadgets. They thought it was awesome. At the end of the day, no one was injured, no homes were hurt, but there was an estimated $90,000 worth of damage and a whole lot of excitement. I was a little too preoccupied to get photos, but I did manage to snap one once the chaos subsided. 
A special thank you to the firefighters of Costa Mesa FD for their quick response and very efficient handling of the situation. The fire spread very quickly and could have been much, much worse if it hadn't have been for this remarkable group of men!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday is Fun Day...

It's hard not to have a fun time when these three girls are around...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Autobiography in a Bag - Reilly

Today, Reilly had the chance to present an "autobiography in a bag" to her first grade class. Basically, it was a way for Roo to introduce herself to her new classmates. Despite her shy-in-front-of-a-big-group tendencies, Reilly was super excited about this assignment and she had a hard time deciding which 5-6 items she would choose to represent who she is. SO, here is what she ultimately decided on...
Swimsuit - because Reilly is a little fish who LOVES the water. In a pool. In the tub. In the ocean. In the sprinklers. This girl the water. Period.
Kitty Beanie - because Reilly loves kittens and she loves fun hats. Last year, she had a pink & black beanie with braided tassels down the side...she wore it almost every day. The year before that was her pink-poofie-pompom beanie. This was the cap she picked out for this year...and she has worn it almost every day since we bought it.
LPS - Reilly loves to play with her Little Pet Shop animals. She names every single one of them and talks in different voices for the different animals...I love listening to her when she plays; it's always entertaining.
Glitter nail polish - from the time she was a toddler, Reilly has loved to get her toe-toes painted. That love continues today, and she almost always finds some way to integrate sparkles and bling into her mani/pedi's.
 Doll - Reilly loves dolls...I swear if it weren't for the top rail on the bunk, this child would probably fall out of her bed nightly on account of all the room her dolls take up.
Notice the sparkly alpha stickers on the brown paper bag? And the recurring pink and orange colors? Sparkles and pink...two of Reilly's favorite things. And if you look closely at the photos, you will see her other favorite animal (a turtle), her favorite place to eat (Old Spaghetti Factory), and some of her favorite pictures from the past 6 years.  
And here is my little Roo on "her" day...all smiles, as cute as can be (sorry for the blurriness - the camera on my phone is going out). I love you Reilly!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to School, Back to School...

Today is the first day of the new school year. For Aiden and Reilly, the morning was filled with mixed feelings of excitement and uncertainty - they were excited for their teacher but were a little nervous because they didn't know of any girls from last year who would be in their class. At least they knew they would have each other, so that helped to calm some fears. We had everything prepped and ready last night (lunches, back packs, first day outfits, etc), so this morning was smooth sailing. The girls chose to eat hardboiled eggs, yogurt, and cinnamon muffins for breakfast. MacKenzie slept through all of the morning's hustle and bustle, waking up just before we needed to leave.

Of course I made the girls suffer through a first day of school photo shoot...but they were willing to oblige their ol' mom since they got to do some silly poses as well (typical from my two little characters). Once the pics were taken, we set off to school. Roo had a minor meltdown or two along the way (first about how the tongue on her shoes was bunching, then about wanting to go back to kindergarten and not first grade and how she was afraid kids might laugh at her "silly hair"...which I happen to think is adorable and fits her personality perfectly). It nearly broke my heart to see my little Reilly, who usually radiates confidence and positivity, to be filled with so much uncertainty and doubt about this morning. We were able to talk it out, give hugs and kisses, and after I wiped away her tears and Aiden promised to help her in class if she was feeling sad, we were off again to start their first day of first grade.
The school campus was filled with the expected chaos of the first day. We saw old friends and met some of the girls' new classmates. After just a slight hesitation, the girls went right on in to their classroom, dropped their lunches off, found their desks, and started chatting with their deskmates. Another set of quick hugs and kisses to me and MacKenzie, and then the girls said good-bye and that it was okay for me to leave.
The start of school brings mixed emotions for me as well. I am excited for Reilly and Aiden and I love watching them grow and develop and learn...all things that I know will happen this year. But I am also sad that I won't get to hear their laughter and chatter during the days when they're at school...their giggles are infectious and can brighten the worst of moods. I will no longer hear cries of "pikachoo" from the backseat as we go about our morning errands, and I will once again have to choose my own songs while driving in the car (the girls have become quite vocal about which songs they like to hear...and sing along to while driving). While the girls are in class, I will be MacKenzie's sole source of entertainment...poor little thing. I have loved watching Aiden and Reilly be big sisters to Mac and I know she will miss them as much as I will during the day. Hopefully, I can keep her as happy and occuppied as her sisters always seem to...but even so, I know the littlest one will be all smiles and giggles when after-school pick-up comes this afternoon!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Last Day of Summer 2012...

I know it isn't considered this by all, but to ME, Labor Day has always represented the last "official" day of summer. Here in California, most schools do not resume until after the national holiday, so as a kid this usually meant that Labor Day was my last day to enjoy daily swims in the pool, the beach, walks and bike rides to Express Stop, sneaking onto school property to play unsupervised on the playgrounds, and playing outside or with my friends without the worries of homework or schoolwork. Labor Day meant earlier bedtimes, resumed family schedules, organizing my new school wardrobe, and getting my backpack and school schedule organized.
In similar fashion, that is how we spent our Labor Day - we kept our day low key and easy going. Our day started with a morning of cleaning and organizing the twins' room, a breakfast of freezer waffles and pancakes, some outside play time, rocking out to Rhapsody tunes on the TV, a trip to the mall, a stop for milkshakes (A-vanilla, R-cookies and cream) and ice cream cones, BBQ chicken sandwiches, an evening stroll, wardrobe selection and modeling show, early showers and (an attempted) earlier bedtime. Nothing to fancy or rigid or scheduled. We didn't make it to the beach (bummer) or to our friend's BBQ/pool party as hoped (double bummer), but I think we enjoyed our day nonetheless. 
We hope your Labor Day (a.k.a official end of summer) was absolutely splendid!!