Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Gina Perkins | Posted on 07-08-2012

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Have you ever draped your body precariously across your baby’s car-seat, bare-breasted and nursing, inhaling the stench of cow manure while cruising the I-5?  I have.  Last weekend, as a matter of fact.  And it was awesome.

Last Friday at 1:00 pm, I sent my husband a text that read, “Let’s go to Disneyland.”  We are not known for our spontaneity as a couple.  We’re typically very methodical in all of our decisions, but something got a hold of me and I craved a change of scenery.  I was stunned when he replied back, “I say screw it, let’s do it!”  I squealed with delight – we were being crazy!  Woot woot – we still had it!

We booked a cheap hotel, bought our park admission tickets online, arranged for my mom to come and take care of our pets, packed up our suitcases and the car and hit the road around 8:00 pm.  Several stops later, we arrived in Anaheim at 3:00 am. It had been quite a journey as we had endured kids too excited to sleep soundly, kids wanting to eat, kids needing to pee, kids objecting to our music choices, etc.  Overall though, we actually felt blessed, because in between all of the chaotic moments, we (my husband and I) got some time to catch up and talk without interruption every 2 minutes.

We decided to wait until we entered the park to tell DJ where we were.  She had only known that we were “doing something really special.” Of course, when she woke up at 6:30 am (after only 3 hours of sleep for the hubs and me), she was full of questions.  We very slowly made our way out the hotel door after some horrid in-room coffee and a laughable continental breakfast. My husband and I grew more and more excited as we approached the gates and got swept along with the anxious crowd.

“DJ, do you know where we are?” “No.” “We’re at DISNEYLAND!!!!!!!” Blank.  She went blank.  No reaction at all.  It was kind of hilarious because we had so anticipated a happy dance of epic proportions.  Um…..ok.  Maybe she’s just tired.  Oh man, could her non-reaction actually be because she didn’t quite understand what Disneyland was?

Once we got onto Main Street, DJ’s face lit up.  It clicked!  She wanted out of the stroller, and once her feet hit the ground, she began jumping up and down.  It was AWESOME.  And in that moment, my husband and I sauntered through another parenting rite of passage.  We had surprised our three year old with a trip to The Happiest Place on Earth.  We had driven all night, and woke up in the Promised Land.  We had done what our parents had done for us once upon a time.  We felt grown up, as if our sweet children somehow became more our own.  DJ would always remember this.

It was magic. Pure magic.  As DJ met Ariel, Aurora and Rapunzel, she floated with joy.  Her eyes lit with wonder, as she gained the understanding that all of her favorite characters were real.  At night, we watched Tinkerbell fly through the sky during the fireworks show and DJ watched “pixie dust” light up the darkness.  She wore her Princess dress with utter pride, and stayed awake until closing time.  Never have I loved “It’s a Small World” like I do now that I can picture my children’s faces as they took in every detail.

This is what life is all about.  Seeing the things that we’ve taken for granted through the eyes of our children.  Whether the magic of Disneyland, or the wonder of a Rollie Pollie crossing over a sidewalk – we need to slow down and see the world around us for what it is….a place riddled with newness and adventure.




“Wonderings and “what-ifs”


Posted by MissyHall | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 17-04-2012

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While we wait…we will wonder…or worry…or whatever. (don’t you just love alliteration?)

I woke up to a surprise when I attempted to take a nap last Saturday.  I skipped out of my boy’s baseball game because I desperately wanted needed a nap.  I told my sweet girl that she could pick a long movie (as apposed to a 22 minute Peppa Pig) and that she could only wake me up in a true emergency (“No, announcing to me that you have to use the potty is not an emergency, just do it, ok?”)

Well, the boys left, and I snuggled in and fell fast asleep.  But, our dog, Sproutie, moved to the front couch, where she can watch out our window and therefore about 45 minutes later she starts barking up a storm.  I awaken enough to realize that I do not hear Ariel singing her tunes and wonder why the movie is already off.  (Luckily) I chose to get up and check on my little stinky pot pie who had lined up all our bleach filled cleaning supplies on our back couch and was using all sorts of different sprays on different parts of the house. Naturally, I launch into a huge lecture about how she knows not to touch these and now is no longer allowed to be left alone for a quiet time except for inside her bedroom (where no bleach is stored there, obviously.) She is crying and I am wallowing in a good dose of Mom Guilt for having completely crashed out instead of my half-awake nap I generally take with one ear “open” to catch even the faint sound of windex on my dishes.

I stop to listen to my child who is crying and hear: “I only wanted to be like the Berenstain Bears!” Huh? “They surprised their mommy by cleaning up.” Hmmm.

Now, I grew up loving the Berenstain Bears (my first real “series”…followed by others like Anne of Green Gables and Narnia ) and since having kids I have loved sharing these treasures with my own Brother and Sister Bear.  Last summer we joined two library clubs and read twice the books and raked in twice the prizes and I have good authority to report that the mother load of BB books is at the Burlingame library.  But, I did not suspect that my little girl would choose my precious nap time to re-enact the story in our home.

So, expectations got the best of us both.  She expected that I’d be thankful and pleasantly surprised.  I expected that she would be all snuggled up enjoying the big privilege of watching a whole movie.  And, If I am honest, expectations always get the best of me: in my marriage, in my parenting, with my extended family, with my friends.  I constantly am having to check to make sure that I am not expecting something of someone else that is unfair. My hunnie says: “I never “should” on anyone!” Yet, that is exactly the way my thoughts go…I should do this….You should do this…they should do that.

Becoming a mom for the first time 8 years ago felt a little lot like this quote to me:

“What did you expect, a walk in the park?

not a carefree stroll, but this is like being mugged in the park!” (We need to talk about Kevin, by Lionel Shriver, p92)

This was such an interesting book …crazy theme and characters, but so well written and so many good quotes to get you thinking. Here’s another one that hit home for me the idea of expectations:

“I wanted what i could ot imagine. i wanted to be transformed; I wanted to be transported. i wanted a door to open and a whole new vista to expand before me that I had never known was out there…expectations are dangerous when they are both high and unformed.” (p92)

Now, as we prepare for our adoption phone call, I find myself with expectations and too many “shoulds” along with some positive wonderings and some negative whatifs.  Similar to when I was pregnant, I wondered…

I wonder what my child will look like?

I wonder what his/her temperament will be?

I wonder if he will be a busy sports- loving boy?

Or, I wonder if she will be a prissy, purse carrying princess?

I think these “wonderings” are normal and fine as long as they don’t become expectations that will leave me (and everyone around me) frustrated if (when) things turn out different.

A small step away from wondering, are the “whatifs”…I will differentiate between the two: “wondering” is a more hopeful openness to whatever will be, whereas, “whatifs” center around a worry or fear of the unknown.

What if future child is not responsive to us, and has a hard time bonding?

What if my kids lives are turned upside down by a court process, or an emotional season that ends with us having to return future child to his/her birh parent after a period of time?

What if I say the wrong thing?

What if I never sleep again?

What I am  trying to do is work on that subtle shift away from worry and back to hopeful.  What I am also trying to do is recognize those enemy expectations and set them aside.  What I am really want to do is just experience all today has to offer, with a thankful heart, and deal with tomorrow and the realities that just ARE when I am there.

She Likes Us


Posted by Gina Perkins, Pre-School Mommie | Posted in Gina Perkins | Posted on 07-03-2011

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She likes us. She really, really likes us.

Last weekend, my husband and I had an impromptu afternoon snuggle session on our bed with DJ. As she was turning back and forth between us, being sure to face each of us for a few seconds at a time, it occurred to me – she likes us. I said to my husband, “She won’t think we’re this cool forever.” My heart welled with sadness, and soared with joy while I allowed that thought to really resonate.

On Saturday, DJ turned 18 months old. We celebrated her half birthday with all of her favorite things. It was a small-scale party all day, minus the guests and gifts. One of my dad and stepmom’s favorite stories to tell is about the day I woke up crying on one of my half birthdays because there was no party. As legend goes, I kept saying with a tiny, sad voice, “But I’m half-and-a-two.” So while DJ couldn’t quite comprehend the reason behind her candle-topped scoop of vanilla bean ice cream – I knew we were celebrating another six months of incredible love, growth, and memories.

DJ is amazing, and she thinks that we’re equally as great. That kind of blows my mind. As I get caught up in my daily insecurities, fighting off lies about not being fit enough, not keeping the house clean enough, cooking the turkey meatballs for too long, not being fashionable, not remembering important dates, etc. – I am reminded that my precious daughter overlooks all of that. She sees me as a fantastic mom, her favorite playmate, and someone who is brave, compassionate, consistent and dependable. She thinks I’m a great cook (minus the days when I try to feed her peas), and couldn’t care less about how often I vacuum.

As parents, we always talk about the wonder of seeing the world through fresh eyes again as our children make discoveries, observations, and draw conclusions. We discuss our renewed trust in all things good, and we might even marvel at the way water runs through a gutter. Our children make us see the simple beauty that surrounds us each and every day. They force us to stop and pay attention to the things that we have taken for granted – the things that, over time, we have just stopped seeing.

It makes me wonder, when’s the last time I really saw myself? When’s the last time I stopped and took inventory of the woman who DJ sees in me?

DJ likes me. She really, really likes me. And not just because I’m her mom, and she has to – but because she thinks I’m awesome for a million different reasons. Have you ever seen that bumper sticker that reads, “I want to be the person who my dog thinks I am?” Well, I want to embrace the person that my daughter knows I am.

The Birth of Total Teen Dad


Posted by webmaster | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 28-05-2010

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It was their first time.  We packed up the Honda Prelude, rolled back the sunroof, and headed up to Memorial Park in La Honda (located above Woodside near Loma Mar off Hwy 84 on the way to Pescadero on Hwy 1), a guaranteed hit with kids because of it’s creeks, rope swings, modest hiking trails, and ampitheatre.  It was a warm sunny morning, and the kids were wondering what dad was doing getting them up so early.  What could be that cool?

I paid $6 at the gate to the park and as we drove slowly down the small cracked pavement to the picnic area where my mother took us as kids, I looked at them in the rear view mirror and alongside me.  Their faces were solemn, looking at the giant redwoods and the lush green foliage everywhere.

I parked the car and the kids jumped out.  As I stepped out of the car, they asked, “Can we get up on the giant tree?”

“Of course”, I muttered enjoying the moment.

And so they climbed on top of the giant fallen tree, just as I did when I was young(erer).  They stood on top of it simply looking up in wonderment at the height and the breadth of the environment they were in.

“Listen daddy.  You can hear the leaves moving.”

I had done it.  I had not only showed them wonder and joy, but I had created a respect for the environment, and continued a tradition.

Today, my teens still go camping – whether it’s with each other, their friends, or with me.  They love the beach.  They still have the appetite to explore new places, take pictures instead of taking mementos home, and are careful not to trample the environment where it is not meant to be trampled.

Because playing outdoors is better than video games.  Hiking and rock climbing is better than music television.  Biking and swimming in the ocean is more grounding than reality television.

It wasn’t hard.  I didn’t have to recreate the wheel.  I just had to look to my past.  To the lessons my parents taught me.  To the places they took me.  The food they fed me.

As for me?  Well, I’m still cool.  I still know how to take them to places they’ve never been, show them new things they’ve never seen, and how to do things they’ve never tried.  Memorial Park was just the beginning.

The birth of Total Teen Dad.