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  • Writer's picture Jana

Mother (Often) Knows Best.

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

The two most frequent questions I am asked, in response to my blog posts are:

"How do you have the stamina to plan and do all the activities you do with the kids?" and "Do the kids willingly participate and get excited about all the activities you plan?" The answer to the first question is, "I have absolutely no idea, except out of sheer necessity." The somewhat qualified response to the second question is, "No."

I have heard, more than once, that my readers feel they need a nap after reading my blog, just thinking about what we do in a day. I think that's a great idea! I certainly don't have time to nap, so someone should and it may as well be my bleary-eyed readers. For those of you who don't have four kids (which is most of you, I surmise), it is difficult to comprehend the mayhem that comes with that (especially when three of them are boys). Even those with one, two or three kids, know what I'm talking about. With kids, there is always going to be a base level of mayhem, but that level can vary drastically, depending on how you plan your day, or don't, for that matter. In our case, the busier we are, the less mayhem. That equation works well for me. Despite the time that goes into planning and the energy that goes into executing the plans, it is always preferable to boredom and squabbling at home. Always.

So what happens when the kids aren't on board with my elaborate plans, you might wonder? Well, we do them anyway. There may be moans and groans coming from the peanut gallery, but that never deters me. It sometimes frustrates me, depending on how much time, work, and/or money I have poured into the plans, but it never deters me. That is because I know, once we close the door behind us, get in the car, start driving and reach our destination I am going to win them over with what I have planned. Off the top of my head, I have to estimate a 100% success rate. If it sounds like I'm bragging, I probably am. I think given the time and energy I expend planning these elaborate outings gives me the right to brag, just a little bit. And trust me, the kids are subject to my bragging as well. Once we arrive and I see them settled in, having fun, with all moaning and groaning behind us, I jump at the chance to say, "I told you so." I just can't resist. And luckily they are good sports about it when they reply, "We know Mommy. Every time we think we're not going to have a good time and we complain, we are always wrong." I am glad, for all of our sakes, that they are!

This weekend I made reservations to return to The Huntington Library and Gardens. We hadn't been back since the cactus debacle over Christmas break, which all but forced me into purchasing a pricey year-long membership. For over two months I have been trying to get back there, but have been met by constant resistance from the troops. This week I finally thought, enough is enough, and made the reservations, since they are tough to come by on the weekends. Here is Catherine posing by the stunning blossom trees in the Chinese Garden.

Garin and Miles went off exploring on their own for awhile while Catherine, Graham and I found a comfy bench with a bird's eye view of the pond, bridge and blossom trees. If this is not the picture of serenity, I don't know what is?

Garin found this grotto of sorts. He and Miles had fun taking us on a tour of all the treasures they found in this special garden.

Never a huge fan of bonsai trees, I have now become obsessed with them after our second visit to The Huntington. The kids and I marvel at all the different species and the incredible likeness to their giant relatives.

At The Huntington, there are fun things to explore for as far as the eye can see.

My eyes were looking for all the blossom trees, since I have a fixation with them. They are absolutely glorious at this time of year and I want to plant them all all over my yard at home.

I posed everyone in front of blossom trees as often as I could. Despite the moans and groans, my subjects were kind enough to humor me.

After the Chinese Garden we headed to the Shakespeare Garden, which was lovely and planted with many seasonal annuals.

In the Shakespeare Garden, I found a field of blush-colored Stock flowers, They made my heart happy and their fragrance was soft and sweet.

There's nothing like finding shade and refuge under a huge, old, majestic tree.

Case in point, while Catheirne was on a play date late Sunday afternoon, I had to drag the boys out on a trail walk, in Hidden Hills. I ignored the moans and groans of resistance and said, "Put your shoes on, we're going!" Once we were high up on a ridge, marveling at the sunset beyond the emerald green rolling hills, their toon changed, thankfully. I told you so!

We made it back to the house just as it was getting dark. We all agreed that we couldn't wait to do it again.

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