Monthly Archives: January 2010

Found

He sways to Ben Folds in his chair at ‘Donald’s. Fynn sits on his knees, piercing blue eyes darting from one area to the next. He watches a little girl in a sweatshirt covered in ballet shoes as she dances to the ketchup pump.

The accents are thick with Boston.

I’m trying to stay present in this moment. Focus on where we are, trying to not want for another place.

Or something more than Diet Coke from a soda fountain.

The kids meal sits between us. Chicken nuggets, fries, a prize knight atop a squirrel {don’t ask…} and a castle made out of a jug of milk.

He tells me about the knight and how he must find the castle. And then he glances outside and sees someone hurrying by on the street. Going for a walk in the subzero windchill.

Fynn starts worrying that the little boy lost his mommy.

As we leave, he falls in the parking lot. Scrapes his hands and teardrops begin to fall. In a natural mommy moment I scoop him up in my arms, fly across the parking lot to our car. Into the carseat, check hands, check knees, check noses, wipe tears.

Breathe in salty frozen tears. Focus.

He asks about the little boy again. He needs his mommy. He lost his mommy. We need to catch up, mommy! We drive a ways, and he’s satisfied in knowing the little boy must have made it home. He found his mommy.

And we drive to our castle. Princess and King waiting for us. We’re found.

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Sleepy Saturday

Today I slept in. Until 9:45.
I’m not kidding.
I’m married to the most wonderful man who not only keeps the kids entertained for a full morning, but also deep cleans the living room carpets at the same time. Seriously. Love him.

Then I left in the early afternoon to have lattes with one of my best friends. My husband even encouraged me to leave early so I could have some quiet time. By myself. Again… love him.

So I did. I drove a few towns over, parked the car and walked through the brisk air to the locally owned coffee shop. My gingerbread mocha was perfect, and the chocolate chip cookie delish. I sat and listened to the next table over talk about how Hans Solo and Princess Leia have several children… smiled to myself and then dove into an essay by Anne Lamott. It was Red Cords. I brought the book for my friend to borrow, and flipped it open to read the quote:

“I’m sorry I was awful.” I said “I don’t know what’s wrong with me sometimes. Everything gets to be too much and I can’t breathe”.

Oh Anne… you get me…

I can always pick up something that she’s written and feel like she’s in my head.

My friend came, and we sat and talked. About grown up things. We laughed about politics {what else can you do…} We cried a little about a few things. Then we laughed some more.

These moments, these grown up moments that sometimes make you feel like you’re the one who is three years old asking “what are you saying??” these moments that seem so life altering and scary… need to be owned and embraced. All of them. Even the ones that seem as wild and crazy as the frigid January air.

But they can be tamed with chocolate chip cookies and gingerbread mochas. They can be taken on after the first good nights sleep in months. And on a good day, those scary January moments fade into warm snuggles with a toddler who holds onto a book instead of a dolly as she drifts off to sleep…

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{sorry for the fuzziness of this photo… a mama can only do so much while being sneaky and trying not to wake the little one…}

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Flashback Friday: Snapshots

I have not been with it this week. I didn’t even realize it was… Friday… {and Flashback Friday at Jo‘s at that…}  until naptime. Earlier in the week I had high hopes for sorting through my memory back and writing the most eloquent of posts about a treasured memory.

Sorry folks 🙂

But what I will do tonight is share a few snapshots from our first long {two weeks!} family vacation. It was August of 2007, and my parents rented a cabin in Maine. We all drove up together on a Saturday, and then Lucas went home on Sunday for his first week apart from us. Ever. It was the longest time we’d spent apart since we started dating. The following weekend he came up and was able to spend the rest of the vacation with us. We spent the vacation on the lake, watching Fynn as he tried so very hard to crawl {with no help from the wood floors…} experimenting with camp style baby food, and had some wonderful quality time together. It was peaceful, other than a few cries thanks to a teething baby, beautiful, and as calm as a vacation could be with a nine month old.

These snapshots are courtesy {once again!} of my most talented mother.

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{and this one just makes me giggle!}
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Make sure you hop over to Jo’s at Mylestones for more Flashback Friday posts!

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Color me blue

This week I’ve taken a little break from this space. At first it was unintentional {and yes, only two days, but to me… that’s a lot considering my ocd type nature when it comes to posting…} but then I realized it wasn’t such a bad thing, and conciously decided not to post yesterday.

And frankly, I wasn’t planning on posting today either. But then I saw that Beth’s challenge for today was color. And I looked around and saw it. For maybe the first time in a few days. And it blew me away. How brilliant and bright things are in my own home, even when sometimes the days are dreary, snowfilled and even a bit tearful.

Color is what it’s about. Bring it on, even if my color is a bit blue around the edges this week…

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Check out Beth at I Should Be Folding Landry for more lovely captures. This weeks You Capture Challenge was color.

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Imperfect days

I am trying to find the good in today.

I’m trying. Very very hard.

But today ended with my son telling me “I’m so sorry you yelled at me Mommy” while he sat on the potty.

So yeah… trying. Very hard.

My daughter broke one of my favorite necklaces. Handmade paper beads strewn all over the kitchen floor. The moment hubby got home. I jumped up and down, stomped my feet, and yelled that I was done.

Not my most shining moment.

Yesterday Kristen posted about the long days and magical moments of parenting. She asked in her post how we can stay present, grounded in the now. I commented that when I need to get kicked into gear I tell myself that my children did not ask to be born. We made a conscious decision to have them. To turn our love into something more. To give life to our love, and create something so much bigger than us.

That being said, I told myself no less than a thousand times today that I chose to have these children.

And it didn’t help.

What does help is looking back.

The following photos were taken by my talented mother {who I wish I could link to, because it just dawned on me that she needs her own blog} If my memory serves, it was my first outing after Paige was born, and she was probably about a week old. I remember how my legs {and other areas I will not mention….} ached with recovery. How everything seemed possible because we took the kids to the park for a the afternoon. Even with a spit up incident on our way out the door {now it’s all coming back…} I was frustrated, overwhelmed with the sudden reality of having two, and possibly yelled a bit as I ran back into the apartment to clean myself and change the baby into a new outfit… all while keeping in mind that we had so many minutes before the baby needed to nurse yet again.

I remember how it seemed so impossible to get out the door, but how rewarding the sunshine and fresh air felt. How Paige felt so small, and Fynn felt so big, and how much I wanted to cry because nothing fit me and nothing felt right and why couldn’t everything just be perfect?

It’s not perfect. It wasn’t meant to be that way. We’re not. I’m {most certainly} not.

And that helps.

Today was one of those days. Of which I’m sure there will be many. And with each one that comes, I’ll look at the previous one, get a little teary, and wonder why the day seemed so impossible when it was, in fact, filled with picture perfect moments.

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{on this one, notice the finger pointing to get down off whatever he was on at the moment… ahh memories!}
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Winter beach day

Last night I was on a mission. I was going to find our church.

I spent quite a good bit of time online comparing websites of local churches. Church doctrines and mission statements. I also spent a good deal of time researching the different denominations, trying to see what church would best suit my beliefs and our family. Ultimately, I know we just have to go out and try a few different churches to see what feels right. But part of me hoped to find one online, fall in love with it, and feel at home before we even stepped foot into the building. If I’m going to be brutally honest, I asked God to leave me a note on my kitchen counter to tell me where to go…

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But neither of those things happened. I now have a few in mind to try, starting next weekend, but I’m still not sure. And I think that’s ok. It’s a process.

But last night, I had worked myself into a frenzy of finding the church. It seemed so necessary, and so urgent.

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This morning, it didn’t seem so urgent. This morning what seemed urgent was all of us getting outside to breathe some fresh air. Salt air. I woke up remembering words and pictures that friends have recently posted about waves, rocks, salt air breezes and gusts. I had mentioned a few days ago to Lucas that I wanted to take the kids to the beach. {I’m omitting the part where he looked at me like I had three heads and thought I was a lunatic for wanting to brave the beach with the kids in the winter…} There’s one near us that’s a little protected from the elements, and there is nothing better for the soul than a walk on the beach. In any season.

So we went.

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We walked, picked up rocks and seashells, smelled the salt air and felt the sand crunch under our winter boots. We took deep breaths and held hands. We walked together, separately, then together again when Fynn called hey, wait up! or wait for me! Paige rode on her daddy’s shoulders, pointed at seagulls and directed where his feet took them. It was one of those beautiful chilly Sunday mornings that you can’t anticipate. They just happen.

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Years and years ago I attended a Congregational church with my father. I sang in the choir {shocking… my kids will one day laugh their heads off if they find out!} There was one church member, I think her name was Marion, but I can’t be sure. I forget how the topic came up, but I remember this vividly. We were standing in the basement meeting room, dawning our red choir robes that smelled of moth balls and whoever wore it the previous week, when she touched my arm and asked me to remember something. God hears you no matter where you pray, no matter where you worship.

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That’s the key. My search for a church, for a community to worship in, will happen. And I’m guessing it will be fruitful. But ultimately, He hears me. Whether it’s on a beach, in our little two bedroom apartment, or in a gigantic church. He hears me.

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Flickering Flame

The flame stretches, arm out to the world

Open, exposed

Shivering in the cold air of a quiet room

A sweet spot exposed, where the flame meets the wick

encompassed by a shimmering puddle of hot turquoise wax

The whiteness of the newly exposed wick, and see the charred blackness within the flame

Darkness needed to fuel the light

The fire reaches down, turns light to dark, and becomes brighter

Blues, oranges and yellows rise to the silent occasion, becoming more brilliant as the moments pass

Flickering in the open air

Brilliance lighting the hidden corners, with hints of charred blackness

Jan 23, 2010 003


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A quiet time for all

When I was pregnant with Fynn I was blessed with an abundance of advice. From everyone who saw my bulging baby belly. I took most of it in stride, nodding my head, saying thank you. From my just over three years of experience as a parent, I can say the best parenting advice I ever received was this: sleep when your baby sleeps.

I know plenty of people who laugh off that advice, like it’s an impossible feat. It’s not. When Fynn was a baby we would spend hours doing vertical dance of nursing and napping. Paige often cuddled between me and Fynn when she was a wee one, or was content in a wrap while I swayed with her as I stood next to Fynn’s bed and waited for him to fall asleep for naptime. Then the two of us would sneak off to the couch and snuggle together, repeating the nursing and sleeping dance of a few years past.

Here’s the thing, I might have taken this a tad bit too far. I still lay down with my kids on the days we’re home for naptime. It started a few months ago when I needed the rest thanks to migraines. I’d gather up the kids right after lunch, plunk them in my bed, lay down with one snuggled on each arm, and we’d all drift off. Truthfully Fynn can go without his nap, and had before I started our new nap routine.

Paige is normally the first one to close her eyes. She nuzzles my shoulder, I smell her soft hair as she holds my finger like it’s the most precious commodity. Then I turn to Fynn, who is snuggled up to me on my arm. We gaze at each other, he sometimes whispers silly things to me, tells me about the stars and spaceships on the ceiling. We have some quiet alone time, though Paige is inches away.

Even if the kids have been devil children all morning, once we hop into bed they are the snuggliest, warmest, and sweetest little beings on the planet.

I’ll take them over a freshly cleaned kitchen any day.

That’s the price for these naps. While other mothers get things done during naptime, I sit with my babies. And truthfully I rarely sleep, mostly because the three hour nap has never graced us with its appearance {my children still think sleep is evil… but we won’t go there…} and also because Paige will wake up several times needing to be recuddled and loved back to sleep. So the minute Fynn finally closes his eyes, Paige’s pop open, and vice versa. So it’s a process. But naptime lasts longer with me involved than it would otherwise… which is another bonus.

These naptimes, where my arms are pinned under children, force me to be with myself. To listen to what’s going on in my head, to feel things. To ponder. Which is a big part of who I am. Half of my blog posts get written in my head between the hours of 11:30am and 1:30pm {on a good day} Honestly, I cherish that time.

Last weekend we tried to get the kids to nap separately, figuring they each needed some one on one time with one of us. Paige had the hardest time settling into slumber. She was with me, so I thought she wanted her daddy. We switched off but that wasn’t it. After many tears she finally fell asleep. After we were all up, she clung to her brother’s side for the rest of the afternoon.

She apparently cherishes that time with him as well.

We’re a very laid back family. We don’t over schedule ourselves, we’re secretly home bodies {and have a huge need for a yard to satisfy the need fresh air while we’re at home…} and we like to keep things simple. And happy. While the time is nearing an end for them… at this point the whole sleeping while the babies sleep thing… that keeps this mama happy. And her house a little less clean. But none the less, happy.

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Snowmen on the brain

He’s got snowmen on the brain
the fuzzy, cuddly, decorated with blueberries sort of snowman…
three year old creativity at it’s finest!

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Blue skies

Today, there are no fevers. Just blue skies and fresh snow, calling for slippery snowpants and footprints.

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Devilish smiles when glancing down a slide that’s filled with snow…

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And proud exclamations
Look Mommy! A biiig snowball!!

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LOOK Mommy!!

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And these cheeks. And little red nose. And the watery eyes that leave single tears… Oh. My. Goodness.

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We all desperately needed that hour of fresh air this morning. In the worst way.

Especially me. Because in about twenty minutes, my 6 week writing class starts, and I’m a bundle of nerves and nervous energy. It’s online, and sounds similar to classes I’ve taken previously, but it’s six weeks, twelve assignments, of writing. Creative writing. And it’s something just for me. Which I really truly need right now. So I’m excited, but very nervous. Anxious. Ready for it to start, and to see what’s in store for me and diving into the craft.

So this morning, I needed that breath of fresh air to push the nerves aside, to know I’ll be just fine – even if we lost one of Paige’s boots on our way outside and didn’t realize until after she soaked through her sock… had to come back in and relive the whole stuffing everyone into snowsuits and boots a second time…

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

~Irving Berlin, Blue Skies

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