Sorry to have neglected you for so long. It's not that I've forgotten...no, it's just that life has a way of becoming busy - more complicated - and some days I just don't have the steam left to remember. And to write.
Today, though, today...on the way to church, I thought it would be cool to share a tune from
ELO's 'Sweet Talkin' Woman'.
"Kids? Listen to the lyrics. Your Mama had dumped me for an 8th grader and this song meant a lot to me back then. It's all about missing my 'Sweet Talkin' Woman'"
And just like that, I was no longer heading west on Valencia through the desert...I was following Kim through the halls of Nitschmann Junior High School on Union Blvd. Catching a glimpse of her, far ahead, desperately trying to catch up, to talk to her - to let her know how much she meant to me...
Anyways, rather than alarm the bambini, I just allowed the tears to slide, silently down my cheeks as I reemerged into the already 100 degree day, passing the dusty parking lot of the Goodwill drop off center and hustling to meet Angie and the girls at Mass...I'd like to say I won't make that mistake again...but some things, they have to know.
Summer has been flying by - two more weeks and these guys will be heading to 5th grade. 8th grade. 11th grade. I measure the success or failure of the kid's days off by their memories....It has been a non-stop blur working to make sure they are not sitting at home while I work and, when I do have off, that we are not staying home, watching tv, playing video games, etc. I tell the good people that I work with, as I leave the day, "Time for me to go to work - no breaks, no lunches!" Round 2.
I am blessed with help in making memories for these guys:
Mary makes Tonio's day, at Dairy Queen with the monster Brownie Sunday!
Autumn absolutely loves her time with Brinley and got her a fedora to match her own.
Here's where I dug deep and pulled out my 'Inner Kim'...taking Autumn and her friends to get their nails done one day and then shopping at the mall afterwards (like I said, no breaks!).
Lexy, next to Autumn...
And Chloe gets the special treatment from Henry, the owner - who was delighted Lexy's grandma, Angie, had sent us to his shop to have the girl's nails done. He gave me a big hug and offered me a manicure? What the hell is that? I told him I simply bite my nails and that was good enough for me!!
We made it out to the Desert Museum - Kimmy clouds, smiling down on us. We like to check in our friend, Yolanda (I've written that we met her about 18 years ago or so when she worked at Old Tucson Movie Studios, where we were members. She saved us one day, during a monsoon, when our battery died there and she gave us a jump after the management at OT said 'no, we cannot help'. - We've been friends ever since). Today, we found that she is battling cancer...The kids had a tough time wrapping their minds around that news and repeatedly brought it up during our visit.
"Will she be OK Dad?" Tonio.
"We should stop by the Mission on our way home and light a candle." Autumn.
"Yes, I will pray for her Dad." Tonio.
Mary got the kids to the zoo...
And swimming at her Mom's with Ami and the Bunchkin triplets - that's Hunter chillin' in the croc floaty with Aut and Tonio.
Lupe and Manny had the kids make cake pops one day! Lupe made an incredible chicken mole' for my birthday!! Monsi demo's one of her creations. They made donkeys and other animals.
And Tonio (sporting the Creeper shirt that Manny had made him) shares two of his. We got to go see the movie 'Epic' with them, too.
Our friend Karen, from high school, was out visiting her Dad in Casa Grande and came down to take the kids to Colossal Cave while I worked one day...Aut and Tonio had fun with her son Matt and daughter Kallie. We got to see the new Monster's Inc with them and met Angie and her crew there, as well.
Ahhhhh, and then it was time for the circus again!!! I think there were 19 of us this year!! Trinity, Autumn, Breanna and Tonio check out the elephants before the show. Janene figured out, a few years back, that if we get there early, we can see all of the animals before they take them into the main convention center arena for the show.
Breanna, Autumn, Trinity with Kristie (in visiting from Albuquerque), Angie and then Janene next to them -with their big lemonades.
Tonio and Bryson loved the elephants!
Here's all of the kids - Tonio, Richey, Bryson, Tanner, Taylor, Kason, Breanna, Trinity and Autumn.
Autumn, Trinity and Breanna got involved in a little pre-circus dancing!
I took the kids swimming, as often as I could manage - this pool, next to our zoo, features a huge, circus like canopy over top to keep the blazing sun off of you while you swim. Perfect for these two, light skinned natives. It also has a cool lazy river they like to float through.
Somewhere along the way, I had a birthday. We tried out a new Mexican restaurant that Angie and Andrea recommended - Rancho Rustica. It was fabulous.
Except for this part. Tonio seems genuinely amused!
Lexy, Trinity, Breanna and Autumn enjoyed the food!
The boys took up boxing...
Tonio "Boom Boom" Conca
"Concrete" Cody waits for the bag to swing his way. He is chisled!
And, of course, no summer would be complete without Viro's!
Autumn has her Italian flag gelato - Mint Chocolate Chip, Vanilla and Watermelon gelato.
Tonio's Italian flag gelato featured Berry crunch, Straticella and Lime gelato.
We met Bri there one night - she left Viro's to pursue dental hygentistry some time ago and we've missed her incredible cappuccino's ever since! She had worked there for many years, back when Kim and I would go there.
So it's been a good summer for these guys, they've told me so far. They've fallen into a pretty good routine - Tonio watering the garden for me - he uses the hose for the potted plants on the porch and manually turns on the valves for the garden and grass (our old time fried and I installed a new one, but can't seem to get it to work!), Autumn cooks breakfast - bacon, eggs (over easy for Tonio and scrambled for Cody), hash browns, pancakes, etc. and Cody handles the garbage and unloading the dishwasher for me. They all team up on the laundry. And I've been blessed with people to help me make their days fun, safe (Autumn and Tonio do not like being home alone - separation anxiety) and good memories possible...thank you!
Two more weeks to go and I'll be trying to pull out all of the tricks out of my hat!!!
Speaking of Viro's and being blessed - Erika and Giada (both of Florence, Italy), who work there, helped me with the verbiage on my birthday/Father's Day present to myself....
It means 'For God's will'.
I sometimes get off track. And hope/wish for things in my life. For things to be smoother, better - especially for the bambini. I keep forgetting that we are here for God's will - so I had my old friend, Dave, at Tattoo Artistry, create me a little reminder...(my cousin, Amy, commented 'that looks like it hurts!' and I told her 'only when I forget the message').
And I still look around, and know that there are people worse off than I am....I'm pretty blessed...