Sunday, July 31, 2011


An empty park on a beautiful summer afternoon made me we walked to our neighborhood park, the first word that popped into my head when we arrived was loneliness  - that word eventually turned into a feeling of heavy sadness. A big park in a beautiful setting on an afternoon where the temperatures were only in the 80s. Swings left unswung and slides basking in the sun with no one climbing up or sliding down one in the fields running around, no pick up game on the baseball diamond...yet a neighborhood full of children. Although I enjoyed the peace and quiet and gazing out into the fields and wetlands, it made me a bit sad that more people weren't out enjoying the day and made me wonder where everyone is.  What does a park have to be in order to attract more people to it? Maybe if it had a docking station or free wifi, it would help.

My kids love going to the park and even when it is easier to send them out  into the backyard to play instead of walking the two blocks to a different setting, there are times when that is just what we need.  But, I know they would enjoy it more if there were other kids there to play with them.  Cole is still fine playing on his own, but the girls love companionship.  They play well together for the most part, until competition gets the better of them.  As they get older, it feels like their physical capabilities - once quite different - are merging and in some cases, Skye, younger by two years, has abilities that surpass Sydney's (mostly in the monkey bar area - if it were in softball or basketball or golf, it would be another story. Luckily, it's not).  I totally understand where Syd's frustrations come from... she loves sports and all things competition. Skye, on the other hand, could live quite happily in a sports-free world.  Luckily, they have me to play referee and they quickly bounce back and continue their care-free ways.

And, one more thing about parks...why do the park powers that be feel the need to put a gigantic rectangle of sand in the middle of the park?  As fun as it may be at the time, it's a sandy mess without the benefit of the beach. It is nature's litter box - once I heard that phrase, I visualize wild animals using the "litter box" whenever I see sand at a park. Yuck to the yuck!

On the way to the park...

Cole loves everything cars. He's close to outgrowing this one.

They started out on the monkey bars separately...until it was time to see who the faster one is...

Skyler flies across the monkey bars with little effort. I wish I had her upper body strength.

The good thing about being the only ones at the park is the freedom to play on anything at any time.

A solitary moment.

Syd sporting Skye's new fake glasses. I wish I didn't need glasses on a daily basis. Skye spent some of her birthday money on fake ones.

Even the trees looked lonely at the park...

Why the sand???
The competition commences...

Syd was okay with Skye passing her up on the monkey bars. Skye's nickname as a toddler was BoBo, named for her ability to be monkey like in her climbing efforts.

I couldn't convince Cole to stay out of the sand.

The lone survivor in the wood chips.

It appears as if the Hong Kong weather followed us here...

Thursday, July 21, 2011


For us, it feels like summer has just begun. Being away from home for five weeks put our traditional summer on pause - those days of waking up when you want to, playing all day, making plans as you go, running around outside, going for a quick bike ride, being bored, the seemingly endless hours to a day.

Vacations are a wonderful thing. Experiencing something new, spending time as a family without the daily interruptions that life always seems to bring, getting away from the day to day grind, leaving all of our "stuff" behind. One of the things I find so alluring about vacations, especially one like we just had - five weeks in a foreign country - is anonymity. Being in a city where no one knows you, where all the background noise of life can be filtered out with a language barrier, going places you'll see once and only once, where responsibilities are limited, can be liberating. You can blend in and not be noticed. You can start each day anew and create the experiences you want to have.  For the first time, I really understand how people can pack up their lives and move, how they can sell it all and start over...but, life is not a vacation and eventually all of your life "stuff" will meet you wherever you live.  And I do think that anonymity would eventually turn into loneliness. We need our friends and family...our support system...connections to people outside our little family unit.

As nice as it was to have a break from reality and to be anonymous for a while, I am glad to be home.  Seeing my friends and family has been fantastic, like not a day has passed. That's the wonderful thing about those important people in your life...the ones that really make an impact and are here for the long haul. You can go away, come home, and pick up right where you left off. It's comforting to know they will be there no matter where life takes you.

The first few days of the mid-July start to "summer" , we played with friends, swam, built forts, ate comfort food, had random hose fights at 8 p.m., played with all of those toys that have been neglected for far too long, and succeeded in getting our bodies back on Chicago time.

There really is no place like, if that home could include a water view, it would be perfect...

Late Night Hose Fight...these moments captured from the safety of the indoors.

Cole managed to put his shoes on and take his pants off to join in on the fun.

And away she goes...

I'm glad Skye has 9 more years before she can legally drive...she had a tough time staying on the sidewalk.

For Christine, a blog-worthy view from a splash park...

Skye used to spend hours on the swings...I feel like it was yesterday that she actually fit in one...

Once again pant-less, and this time, shoeless...

Who needs expensive toys?

This time last year, both girls were hesitant to even put their heads under the water....

And now this...their progress this year has been amazing. 5 weeks swimming almost everyday sure did help.

We are looking forward to catching up with more friends and family in the coming weeks and enjoying the month of summer we have left before we rejoin our scheduled lives.