February 4, 2010

Roses and thorns

I read a synopsis today of an interview with Michelle Obama, in which she tells that each evening she and the President and their daughters go around their dinner table and list their "roses" and "thorns" of the day.  She believes it helps them stay connected and grounded. Always in need of a good grounding, I'm borrowing the concept. I present my personal roses and thorns from our recent journey to sunny Southern California to visit the Hendersons and Tuckers.

ROSES in no particular order...
  • Sunny Southern California. Kansas has many shining attributes and they even sometimes include the weather.  However, this winter is only half-over and I'm so over it. I liked sunny and 65.
  • Our boys traveled like A+ champs.

  • The ability of Zac and Andrew to walk away from each other when they need to and then eventally compromise and come back together for another round.
  • Tenderloin. A rosemary-seasoned beef tenderloin paired with a glass of Corbett Canyon, lemon bars and great company and conversation is a good start to any vacation.
  • Thomas and Claire emerging from her room dressed as princesses.  They both even had princess cell phones.  After their first lap for their adoring public, Claire pushed Thomas back to their lair in a doll stroller coach. We didn't see them again for 25 minutes.

  • Thomas and Claire emerging dressed as a Swamp Monster and Spiderman, complete with growling so real that it terrified the unflappable baby Luke.

  • A rare opportunity for just our little Henderson family to dine with just Butch. Andrew commented to me later that we don't do that often and he liked it. I concur.
  • Free wi-fi at Disneyland so Mark and Eric could tolerate the wait to meet the princesses.
  • Disneyland. It might truly be the happiest place on earth. They know how to do it right and somehow we did too, through a combination of sheer luck and good advice from my sister-in-law's sister-in-law.  We encountered short lines, pleasant people and an amazing knack for being in the right place at the right time for 12 hours.  What a magical day.

  • A well-timed beer. When the chips are down and there are six kids and four adults hiding out in one house, sometimes a mid-afternoon beer just can't be beat.
  • Our first shotput.  The boys and I received a track and field lesson at Claremont High School. Who knew that it would be so entertaining for everyone involved.

  • Mickey Mouse. Our boys looked for him all day at Disney and just as we were departing the park, we walked out of a store and there he was, as if he was looking for us too.  He even tried to pose with the sleeping T.

  • H&M.  Enough said. Why, oh why, won't they open one in Kansas City?
  • Watching Claire express her personal fashion statement at Children's Place. Patchwork newsboy hats DO go with tie-dye leggings. You just wait - the runways will be brimming with it.
  • Top-your-own yogurt. This is a great concept and it's not unique anymore but still is lots of fun. When Yogurtland happens to be located adjacent to an outdoor plaza and water feature it's even better.

  • Winning over a baby. I love nine-month olds.
  • Having two boys literally fall into bed half-asleep at night after full days of more fun than they could imagine.
  • Mark's ability to sleep anywhere. Even on Small World as the speakers blare that endless song in twenty different languages.

  • The fact that the word poop is just as funny to kids in California as it is to kids in Kansas.
  • A grown-up sushi dinner followed by coffee and dessert with three of my favorite people. As someone who grew up without brothers I've definitely won the brother-in-law lottery twice over. And, as someone who grew up with a sister she loves an awful lot, I've so lucked out by gaining a sister-in-law I think is just as great and would choose as a friend every day of the week. 
  • Snow White. She allowed our sweet Thomas to kiss her in the Princess Walk. It was like slow-motion as he bucked the peer pressure of his brother and Zac to join Claire in meeting these beautiful ladies.
  • Watching Grandpa Butch stand between me and my kids as I headed outside to chew them up for pouring sand all over his patio. He's a softy.
  • Our niece and nephew bringing down the house at the Toon Town Roller Coaster with their expletives as we rolled back into the station.
  • Andrew putting on his game face, and forcing me into following suit, by riding every ride available to him at Disneyland even when he was completely terrified. My son helped me find my bravery.
  • The boys riding in Grandpa Butch's old Model A with huge smiles pasted on their faces.

  • Watching Luke attack the bathtub with great enthusiasm. The kid loves water and I can hardly wait to see him swim.
  • Savvy eleven-year-olds. What a treat to spend time with one who is polite and pleasant and so keenly observant.
  • Cousins. I grew up with lots of them and nary a one to really play with it seemed. There were a bunch a few years older - and much too cool for me and my sister - and a bunch a few years younger. They were fun but they were a clan and didn't need the intervention of the Schmidt girls who lived in cousin no-man-land. I love watching my kids enjoy their cousins and play for literally hours on end, loving one another's company.

And now,
THORNS in a very short list...
  • Sickness. It's no fun to be sick and no fun to watch someone else be sick. We missed RoRo time very much and hope that she'll come see us soon so we can make up for some of those lost days. We hope you're all feeling better.
  • Too much distance. We wish sunny Southern California weren't so very far away.
Someone named Kendall Hailey wrote, “The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you."

I say, Amen to that rose.

p.s. for an even better recap, check this out...


Maria said...

Love it! You gave me chills, tears, and goose bumps all at the same time. It was such a great visit...sorry RoRo! Miss you!

Rosemary said...

Thank you, thank you, Susan. That's beautifully chronicled and written. You and Maria both captured it all. Yes, I'm still teary-eyed. Through the eyes of you two, I feel as though I were there. The pictures bring it all home, too. Gee, we love you all so very much and we're so very glad that you came.

Kate and Dennis said...

These kinds of posts from you always make me smile :) See you in a couple hours, I hope!