Tag Archives: life

Untitled on a Thursday

I’m just going to say it.

I love having my mother in town.

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I don’t mind that we’re practically on top of each other when she’s here, staying in our little apartment. Fynn doesn’t mind that she snuggles with him at night, sharing his full size bed. Paige doesn’t mind having another person to carry her around upside down.

And even though I’m married, with two kids, in my late twenties, I still don’t mind if she wants to clean my stove top.

She wears the kids out, reads endless stories to them {even makes up some of her own, about little boys named Fynn going on rocket ships…} and gives so much love.

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One of the huge bonuses about having her here, 24 hours a day, is that I can take the kids out one at a time. Even if it’s just on errands, that time is precious, for all of us. We both get to see how the kids are one on one, which regular days don’t always allow.

Today I stole Paige away and we went and picked up my new glasses. They’re similar to the ones I wore in college, the ones I wore up until last fall. The most recent ones were nice {and not terribly different…} but they weren’t really me. Paige saw the new glasses on me for the first time and smiled and pointed. I’ll take that as a compliment.

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After we picked up my glasses we went on a spur of the moment trip to Barns & Noble. I had a few things in mind… but wasn’t sure I’d be able to find them. Books on faith, alcoholism, recovery. A magazine that features a new friend. Normally when I go in to a huge bookstore I get overwhelmed, and find everything but what I came in for.

Today? Each one of the four items I was looking for practically leapt out at me.

So I had to get them.

I’ve been so good at using the library. I believe so deeply in the library. But I wanted to hold these books. To be able to dive in with a highlighter and to underline the passages that speak to me. I want to dive in to escape. But to escape to a place similar, except with different names. I want to live what I’m going through, but to do so I have to see it from different eyes, different words, at times.

Through this trip, I got to spend some alone time with Paige. It doesn’t happen often… Fynn normally jumps at the opportunity to get out without his sister. But today he said he wanted to stay home. Thanks to my mom he could {and apparently they had a wonderful time together… they drew pictures of Saturn, went swimming through a sea of couch cushions, and then greeted me at the door in his Wall-E underwear}.

At the book store we saw the nurse who discharged me from the hospital with both kids. She was kind, and sweet. Part of me wanted to run up to her and give her a hug, show her Paige. But I kept my distance. Kept the thoughts of how it was funny to run into her today, since Paige will be 18 months old tomorrow.

In those 18 months, she’s blossomed. Grown so much, and is such a sweet little girl.

Paige carried a copy of Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies through the bookstore. At the checkout counter she was reluctant to hand over the book, but she did. She waited anxiously for the cashier to give her the book back. No bag necessary for Paige. She clung to that book like it was gold. On the ride home she thumbed through the soft pages, ooo’ing and ahh’ing.

She’s my girl.

So yeah, I don’t mind having my mom in town. She brings with her moments and memories that are never planned, but always leave imprints on my heart.

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February, Dar, and girly crafts

This February brings with it so many different emotions, I can’t even begin to describe the way I’m feeling right now.

February often does that to me. Emotions coming down like sleet, hitting hard at first, then softening once they hit your skin and you embrace them with warmth.

It’s just… so… February.

Do you know Dar Williams? I love Dar. When Lucas and I were first dating {actually… almost exactly six years ago…} one of the {many} reasons I fell in love with him was the fact that he had one of Dar’s albums. You see, Dar and I are on a first name basis… I saw her in concert once in Portland when I was in high school. She played at a church… if I remember correctly…. and I have loved her ever since. Which puts us on a first name basis.

In any case, today I had her song February stuck in my head. Playing over and over.

And February was so long that it lasted into March
And found us walking a path alone together.
You stopped and pointed and you said, “That’s a crocus,”
And I said, “What’s a crocus?” and you said, “It’s a flower,”
I tried to remember, but I said, “What’s a flower?”
You said, “I still love you.”
~Dar Williams, February

Love it. That part of the song makes me smile every time I hear it.

You know what else makes me smile? Little girls who get practically giddy while making a Valentine for a certain Daddy! We had our weekly playdate with the kids grandparents today, and their Grandma Lou brought out all sorts of things to make Valentine’s with. Fynn lasted about five minutes… but Paige? She LOVED it! She could take or leave paint, but give the girl glitter stickers and some doilies and she’s ready to rock and roll. I can see craft boxes filled with glitter and sequins in our future…

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Maybe February isn’t all that bad after all…

{and yes… that’s blue marker on Paige’s face… Grandma Lou – I’m sorry, but it was too cute to edit out! It’s faded a bit… hopefully it’ll come off by the time she’s twelve! :)}

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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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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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These moments, these hours

Our days go by so quickly. One minute we’re fighting off walking alarms clothed in warm fleecy pajamas, the next they’re snuggling with blankies and loving on tattered elephants. We sit, we play, we laugh and love. Our days are slow in the moments, fast in the hours.

I breathe, taking the long moments as they come.

Moments filled with toddler anguish, one year olds coloring off  white couches with purple dry erase markers, snack bowls and emails.

Hours of play. Hours of laundry.

Seconds that stop me in my tracks, with the surprise of a lingering sweetness in the back of my mouth from licorice tea.

A whole day passes with 12 hours of my baby girl wanting to hold a finger, any finger, just to be close.

A week of snow. A month of cold. A season of indoor play and longing for warm sunbeams.

These slow moments and fast hours are ours for the taking. Long and drawn out, sometimes sweet, always envied by someone. They’re ours, every fleece covered second.

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Elbow deep, five stories high

I am elbow deep in tissues.

And poopy diapers, and runny noses, and sore throats. Moments where you wonder if you should wipe a baby bum or nose first {always the baby bum…} moments filled with is it really that necessary for them not to dance on the table? Everything takes so much effort.

This morning before he left, I asked Lucas to bring out the tv. He knew better than to oblige, instead setting up the laptop with a movie for Fynn. But I was desperate.

Now I’m floating five stories up thanks to some cold medicine, and some energy hijacked from a Diet Coke {I know… clear liquids…} It lets me smile instead of wallow. Because wallowing is a friend to no one.

We rest, and snuggle, and head butt, and snuggle and giggle. All a little more silently thanks to the sore throats. They want love, I give them love. They want veggie chips for lunch, today they got veggie chips for lunch. We give to each other and we feel warmth. We feel five stories higher than we should. We rest because, ultimately, there’s a girls night that will possibly involve sushi that I will be at tomorrow night. Because even though I might not be able to taste the spicy tuna rolls, I’ll feel the warmth that comes with friendship, in the passing of a tissue and turning a blind eye to red runny noses.

Chicken nuggets cooking, movie in progress, naps completed. My fingers are gliding and and typing because I need them to. Stringing together sentences that I didn’t know could exist.

Now there is a glow worm playing classic melodies in a cabinet where it was deliberately placed with the tupperware. There is a little boy telling me he just went pee pee {and not in the bathroom} and in the same breath he needs a little something to eat. And I am elbow deep, and five stories high, still smiling, still moving, still wiping noses and dishing out chicken nuggets and veggie chips.

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Wearing Paige

I completely forgot.

I forgot how wearing a baby, or toddler, can calm a situation. It had slipped my mind for the past month or so how much I could get done at home if I was wearing one of my little ones.

Maybe it was because my beloved Ergo was stashed in the car, and every time I wanted to use it inside… it was ten degrees outside… and my mei tai was in my closet somewhere hidden behind boxes of Christmas decorations and gifts.

This morning, I remembered.

With a clear shot to the beautiful handmade {by my mother} carrier that I caught a glimpse of over the weekend as I stored decorations, I dawned the fabric, and wore Paige. Within minutes, I remembered.

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And I got a lot done. With little fuss, and lots of snuggles.

And even though her stash no longer includes a pacifier, she carried whatever was precious to her, as I carried one of my precious babes.

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With her long lashes brushing my chest, and her fingers clasped around her dolly we moved quietly and swiftly through chores today.

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A day in the life…

8:17am  Husband leaves for work. Children yell “bye! bye! bye Daaaaaaa Deeeeee!!” for ten minutes after he’s out the door.

8:20am I hear “where’d Daddy go?” ten times in a row. I answer “to work” ten times in a row. Get asked again, answer “Constantinople”. Fynn seems more satisfied with that answer.

9am hair drying, screaming children

9:25am Paige is laying on the floor crying, ask Fynn if he hit his sister. His response, with hand in the air – finger pointing as if correcting me… “I not hit my sister, I pushed my sister!”

9:45’ish welcome a phone call from my mama… everyone wants to talk to Grammy.

10:30am reunited with the concept of an early lunch.

11am remind Fynn that he has his special Wall-E underwear on, and he wouldn’t want to pee in them… might have to get ten more of those in order to remain accident free…

11:30am lay down with the kids for naptime, in mommy’s bed. Everyone kisses and hugs, cover with blankets. Wrestling down Paige, snuggling both, am thankful that Fynn is back to needing a nap.

1:00pm naptime ended way too soon, and badly. Screams for no reason from Paige, cries because of the screams from Fynn. Close my eyes, and breathe in the lingering smell of husband from his pillow.

1:10pm everything is made better by sharing chocolate monies, as Fynn calls them. We all have chocolate breath and hands, smiling and giggling over the huge amount of chocolate coins consumed.

2:00pm ask Fynn not to step on books, put books on table. Paige grins from ear to ear, grabs a book, puts it on the floor, and stomps. Oy.

2:30pm realize Paige and I make a decent fort building team (blocks made from empty boxes of wine covered in contact paper, courtesy of my classy little brother =) )

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3:30pm prepare dinner, with children underfoot.

4:00pm Fynn tells me he’s hungry, then he pops up out of no where saying I’m eating Doc Hudson. Lovely!

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4:15pm start to watch Wall-E with kids, to see why they love it {I’ve never watched it all the way through, still haven’t…}

4:30pm yogurt time. Followed by bath time. Followed by children running around naked time.

5pm dinner in the oven, more Wall-E. Waiting patiently for hubby to get home.

5:10pm while I find a few minutes to read a daily devotional, children decide to try to fold my hamper of clean laundry. Piles and piles of clothes strewn across my bedroom, but smiles of pride as they point to their hard work.

6:07pm husband arrives. Daaaaaa Deeeee!!! Sighs of relief. Hugs, dinner, and playtime.

7:10pm story time… BED TIME!!! Turn on computer, put pj’s on, put feet up, and time to relax……

… that was a day in the life of this mama…

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Small, yet heartfelt, acknowledgements

Months ago Lucas and I spent a Saturday or Sunday running around with the kids. Normally we limit our ins and outs because our kids {like everyone else’s} are not a fan of multiple stops when it comes to errands. We had stopped no less than four times, and were headed to our last stop, when from the backseat we heard that a truck had been broken, and couldn’t Daddy fix it? Daddy, on his last string of patience, told him something along the lines that he broke it, so it wouldn’t be getting fixed.

{not a normal thing this Daddy says…. this man totes around the patience of a saint most days, and can fix almost anything that has a wheel popped off, or a bed unattached}

I caught myself reaching to the back, grabbing the truck, and attached the broken piece. We caught each others eyes and snickered, so worn out from buckling and unbuckling, lifting, rushing, keeping hands off of shelves… and he said the magic words to me.

Thank goodness you’re the stay at home parent.

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A small, yet heartfelt, acknowledgement.

I take them when I get them. Just as he takes every Thank goodness you have a job that you enjoy, and you’re such a wonderful provider that comes out of my mouth on too few occasion.

Not every woman is cut out to be a career woman. Not every woman is cut out to stay at home with the kids. Not every man has the drive to bring home the bacon, and occasionally, when asked to, fry it up as well. Thankfully, we are cut out for the tasks at hand.

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Last night the kids slept poorly, and then woke up too early this morning. With that in mind I canceled a playdate, and had a few small errands in my head that we could do before an early naptime. As we readied ourselves for the day, we talked about what was on our agenda. My agenda. Fynn was not please. So we threw caution to the wind, and flew by the seat of our snowpants. The morning was spent on a muddy yet frozen playground, with snow boots and mittens and hats. We went with the flow. Not all mothers could do that.

This evening, after a Monday that left me with smiles instead of a headache, Fynn came up to me and put my face in his hands. Looked at me and said with a smile You’re a good mommy.

A small, yet heartfelt, acknowledgement. I’ll take it.

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Discovery

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Today we took the kids to The Discovery Museum. It’s a little bit of a hike for us, but we were all aching to get out of the house, and we didn’t want the crowds that we figured the big city museums would have today. So we headed west, where the world moves at a slightly slower pace, perfect for a rainy Sunday.

As soon as we walked in the door we were greeted by an expansive train table, which Fynn was magnetically drawn. Lucas stayed with him as Paige and I explored the three floors of fun. A water table, old fashioned diner set up, a safari room, and much more.

Paige and I don’t get to spend much time just the two of us. When we do, she holds on tighter than I expect. When it’s just Paige, she holds back a little. Often she stands and observes the world around her, waiting for the nudge. Waiting for a big brother to come and show her what’s okay to play on, what’s good for exploring. She waits to see what roads he’ll pave for her. When she needs to do the paving, she hesitates. She scrutinizes everyone within eyesight.  Reads people and places before she takes one step. Eventually she’ll dive in, but it takes her a while to test the waters, however warm and comfortable.

I get it.

More than I care to admit, I get it. I, too, wait for someone to pave the way, to make the road a little less bumpy, before I head down it myself. I watch instead of participate.

A lot.

I’m not one for New Years Resolutions. They always end up being a piece of paper crumpled and thrown aside within the first two weeks of the new year. A list of unreasonable goals and expectations. But this coming year, I vow to make changes. To be a participant. To nudge myself when necessary, and pave my own way. It’s possible, and reasonable. I want to show, especially my daughter, that she doesn’t need anyone to pave her way. That she can have faith in herself and that she can reach whatever stars she desires.

This year we will make things happen. With faith, dreams, and a joyful spirit, I will be an active participant in my life.

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