I’ve come to realize that my kiddos have a lot of endurance. Well, is that the right word in this case? I’m not sure. What would you call it when kids are willing and able to sit through something for long periods of time? I’m just so proud of them!!

Yesterday we drove to the Anaheim Convention Center to watch the Fencing Nationals. The particular fencer we were going to cheer on was scheduled to fence at 12noon. We arrived at 10:45 to give ourselves plenty of time to find parking, locate the venue and find our way through all the different fencing bouts looking for Forrest Macdougall, from the fencing gym that Jacob went and tried out. We watched bouts of all three different types of swords: epee, sabre and foil. Learned the differences of technique and speed of each of them. Sat on the sidelines trying to figure it all out as we watched referees assigning points. Turns out we were there until 3pm. That was 4 hours and 15 minutes of fencing! I came home feeling pretty spent. I realize that when I’m in a huge venue like a convention center and there’s tons of sounds and tons of people-watching opportunities, all of that visual and auditory stimuli really wipes me out. I’m guessing it wipes my kids out too. But there’s fun that comes from it all. Fun of getting to learn about a sport we knew nothing about. Fun of getting to meet Miles Chamley-Watson who is a fencer headed to London in three weeks for the 2012 Olympics! He was a such a friendly guy and was so sweet to the kids. He swooped them up in his arms to take a picture. And the dude is tall! 6 foot 5! He had neon lime green shoes on and his hair was bleached with hydrogen peroxide. He definitely stood out in the crowd and we loved getting to meet an Olympian! But more than anything I loved that my kiddos had the ability and desire and happiness to sit through 4 hours of fencing. They’re such troopers and such good sports at going on adventures. Here we were watching Forrest fence with a young man from Korea- who is the #1 jr. fencer in their country. His footwork is incredibly fast!!!

And just recently they were troopers sitting in their car seats for our trip to Shaver Lake. The trip took 8 hours. Yup 8 hours up and 8 hours back. That’s 16 hours of car time that they handled amazingly!!! And that was the week after we had made a 6-hour drive up and 6-hour drive back to Stockton to visit friends. We don’t have our van outfitted with tv/video capabilities, so it was all about reading books, looking out the window, taking naps and just being silly together. When I think of their ability to sit for such long periods of time it just makes my mama heart so proud. And beautiful things come out of their enduring such a long car ride- a week of super fun family time camping together. This year was our 4th time up at Shaver Lake; it has definitely become a family tradition. We all look forward to it……bike rides, hikes, swimming, kayaking, making s’mores, playing games with friends (these were the hits this year: Bananagrams, Cootie, Blink, Pictureka, Battleship, Animal Sequence, Uno). But one of my all-time favorite memories of this trip was the two of them lying on their tummies, tucked into their sleeping bags, their cute faces propped up in their hands, with their elbows on their pillows…..and their intent faces listening to me read aloud stories from a library book we had called “3-minute stories”. Some of their favorites were: “Elephant Big, Elephant Little” (about a big elephant who boasts about being able to do everything better; but really the smaller elephant outsmarts him at a running race, a water spouting race and an eating contest), “The Five Peas” (about the life of 5 little green peas who get shot out of a pop-gun- one of them lands in a crack of a windowsill and brings joy to a little girl who has been sick in bed, the other peas have tragic ends. Love it that the whole story was written from the perspective of the peas!!). Awwwww these are joys to a mama’s heart- watching my kiddos captivated by every word of a story, hanging on with excitement to the tones and expressions of the storytelling. That’s pure joy. And it makes me thankful that they can endure long car rides so that we can have special moments like that in our tent trailer.

I think of the time a couple months ago when the new Penguin Exhibit opened at the Long Beach Aquarium. Jacob and Natalie watched penguins in one exhibit for over two hours. How is that possible?! I love that about them!!! It is not a big exhibit. And yet their attention was grabbed and held for two hours, in that one itty-bitty area of the aquarium. I love it that they can look for details and see new things in each moment. They have the ability to not get bored easily- and I seriously loooooooove that. Endurance just doesn’t seem like the right word to capture it. But whatever I can call it- I love it about them and am thankful for it.

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