December 31, 2014

Year's End

When attempting to deconstruct the past year it seems like all a blur and yet at the same time very defined. I think it was a really good year for Jeff and I, maybe our best yet. The kids, too. They get along awesome and love each other. It was a pretty terrible year medically, but by now we know that comes in cycles or seasons or whatever. We're getting through it. And hey, we hit our family maximum so yay for using our insurance.

Despite some pretty dreadful and draining weeks (and rainy drives), I can only look back on this year with a full heart. If it took anything out of me, it was what needed to go. And I found a peace in it all that has been very healing. Something I've been looking for... for a long time. It was a year I really felt like a grown up, and a really good mom.

I remember the years where I could not wait for the first of January to come because a chance at a new beginning felt like the only way out. Maybe it was the heaviness of new motherhood and little kids and hard times. I am so thankful to be on the other side, where I don't feel like I ever need to start anything over again. This is just fine. Let's keep going from here.

December 26, 2014

Sprits are bright

It's the day after Christmas and all is calm. Jeff's napping. Ivy's creating with her Fashion Plates at the  table (she just finished sewing all the things with her Sew Cool sewing machine which is sooo cool but also sooo loud.) The boys are doing I'm not sure what but since they are quiet I'm not going to go check up on them. I must also mention that the house is spotless.

This morning it was so very not spotless. 

Christmas happened. A pile of boxes greeted me in the living room along with two garbage bags full of wrapping paper and bows. I did wonder to myself last night if we shouldn't save some of these bows for next year- especially after buying a whole new bag the night before and now they are garbage. We could always just tape them on next year and then I remembered that I'm not seventy and we're moving and this is not the time to think about next year's bows. It's enough to think about the next day, or next few hours to be honest. 

So, today was going to be our big day off to relax and recover from an intense week. Not only did we have the holidays to tend but I also made a trip to Seattle and back with Noah. The exhaustion hit hard by mid afternoon yesterday. We served food at our community Christmas dinner and when that was done (and we had stopped on the way home for our Ellen selfie above), all our obligations were met and my body and mind basically went limp. Dishes piled in the sink? No one cares. We can use paper plates and our fingers. Laundry isn't even on my radar until next week (or until school starts up again if I'm being truly authentic here.) Beds don't get made during Christmas break. I'm sure I saw that's a rule somewhere. 

Then we got a request for a showing. Talk about a snap back into reality. We are selling a house! And... no way can we show it today but no way can we not show it so...  basically I said to give me a few hours and you better believe we got to work. 

The house looked amazing and we piled into my car with the a hamster and two gerbils and went to lunch. Now we're home and this clean, quiet house is really, really nice. It's a great way to start a weekend of (hopefully) doing nothing but whatever I feel like: coffee, Into The Woods, knitting, shopping, shopping at the knitting shop, reading, napping, snuggling.

Things are good. We are very merry. 

December 18, 2014

May Your Heart Be Light

I woke up this morning around 4 a.m. and smelled burning coffee. I ran to the kitchen to see if the coffee maker had been turned on by accident and it wasn't even on the counter - it was put away in a cabinet for house showing purposes. So I tried to go back to bed while googling about phantom smells on my phone and couldn't get back to sleep after reading about tumors and strokes. But it's probably just my sinuses.

I ended up listening to the final Serial episode and was up for the day. And so we begin Christmas break. The kids had half day and I spent most of it at the school helping out with the kindergarten holiday party that was holy cow crazy loud and busy. I could not wait to get out of there.

This just might be the first year that Jeff and I won't be staying up late wrapping presents on Christmas Eve. Everything is bought and wrapped. I don't know why it's so different this time around- I mean considering the house selling and house hunting and Jeff being gone and the Seattle trips and getting Noah better... on top of school and ballet and work and staying up late knitting teacher gifts. I don't know how I'm still on top of things and you bet I'm checking my list more than twice to see what I must be missing. My best guess is that keeping this busy is helping me cope and keep it together and also the kids are older. Some things do get easier. I'm really starting to notice it. Good timing.

Despite everything going on I do not feel the heavy weight on my chest that I know so well. I feel peace. Even though we were in Seattle last week and now we have to go to back again next week for what I am calling our Christmas miracle for Noah, even though we'll be driving home from the hospital on Christmas Eve instead of celebrating with friends as we'd looked forward to, I feel like everything... is going to be okay. I actually feel happy.

This whole thing with Noah has had me dangling on the edge. Some days are harder than others. I am constantly working through reliving all we've been through before and unearthing past hurts and researching in desperation all over again and confronting my Gigantic Trust Issues. And also being so very, very angry at the whole thing. But thanks to past experience I've been able to read each situation and doctor and get us where we need to be (Seattle) at a fast pace. There's the peace.

The situation is urgent and what we've tried these past few months isn't working. We have a very promising treatment available to us that is both scary and exciting. In the past, medications only hurt Noah. So we found the ketogenic diet and it saved his life, and that has chartered the course of our lives ever since. However, this time around it looks like modern medicine just might be the answer. He'll start infusions of Remicade via IV next week. We're going to get to know Seattle very well in the coming months. Good thing I love that city.

I will always make the choice that is best for my kids and I do believe this is it right now. I am putting a whole heck of a lot of trust in his new doctor (because he has earned it) and to be honest it feels so good to be willing to trust again. Here's to miracles, no matter how they get here.

December 7, 2014

Around and around.

I put up the Christmas tree in a different spot than last year and it's like a whole new world in here. I debated on putting one up at all. With showing the house I didn't know if I should do a real tree or fake, or maybe just skip it altogether. Then I ended up finding a fake one that looked real and then we put a zillion lights on it and I'm really glad we went for it.

I feel like it was just Thanksgiving and now the kids only have two weeks of school until Christmas break. I need to remember that I'm in charge of getting the goody bags for the kindergarten class holiday party and I am pretty sure I remember Gray mentioning that he signed me up for something in his class. I should probably look into that. We're sneaking in shopping for gifts (instead of us buying all the kids' gifts we're letting them buy for each other... with our money. It's been fun so far, but this means four separate trips over a very tight schedule.)

This weekend Ivy had long dress rehearsals for The Nutcracker and next weekend she has four performances. Of course I'll be helping at three of them and in the audience watching one.

Tomorrow Noah starts his prep for another procedure up in Seattle this week. This is kind of my way of sharing that he's been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease and so, that's one big thing we've been battling and is basically where my head is 24/7 right now.

I remembered that the pets were out of food so Buddy and the gerbils just got a dinner of really good granola from the bakery and what was left in the bottom of a box of Cheez-its. They don't seem to be complaining. I'll go to the store tomorrow.

December 3, 2014

Into December

Our guests are on their way home. There are no longer pumpkins on my porch (which is, like, months early compared to last year's pumpkins that stayed until the Super Bowl) and I'm getting out the Christmas decorations a little at a time.

The house is quiet. I mandated homework time for the boys and gave Ivy a toy catalog to circle for her Christmas list. I need to prepare for more showings tomorrow. I put on holiday music for the first time this year today. It helped in a little way, as it always does. Can't believe it's December again.

November 29, 2014

Behind the scenes

Carter & Grandma peeling the potatoes.

We are on day three of leftovers and there doesn't appear to be an end in sight which is a very good thing considering my cooktop bit the dust just as we were turning off the burner for the mashed potatoes and were about to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner. It wouldn't shut off and the repair man won't be here until Tuesday. So. Yay leftovers and restaurant breakfasts!


Noah & Grandma make the gravy.

It's been a very long and full holiday. We Thanksgiving'ed and then yesterday Jeff and I officially listed the house- sign in the yard and everything. Then I ran off solo to meet a new friend for coffee (she was absolutely lovely and delightful) and we did a bit of shopping. I bought the same wreath Jeff almost bought me earlier this year but the store owner talked him out of it because she didn't think I would like it. And she was right. I didn't and totally loved the one he did buy me. But when I saw it yesterday I had totally forgotten it was the same one and apparently this time I loved it! And it was on sale so maybe that helped, too. We watched it rain the rest of the day until we decided to take Carter to see Mockingjay last night during even more rain.

Poker, of course.

This morning we already had our first showing! We went out to breakfast and then took Ivy to Nutcracker rehearsal and Grandma & Grandpa got to see her practice on the stage. Tonight I took Gray and Ivy to the tree lighting celebration in Old Town. I had to push back tears at how much I love this place and how much I'll miss it. Ivy announced, "I totally know, like, everyone here!" And that was true. We knew everyone and people were dressed up as characters from A Christmas Carol and were singing and sipping on hot cider as they strolled the streets and the kids could run around and be safe. T'was merry, truly merry. So maybe we'll just have to come back for the tree lighting here until we get to know everyone wherever we're headed next.

The kids with the best teacher ever, Mrs. Goddard.

The very best friends: Ivy, Piper, Gray, and Jack.

The tree lighting was at 5:30 and at exactly 5:29 Gray alerted me to the fact that he ate a peanut butter candy by accident and his lips and throat were very itchy. We hightailed it out of there and got him home and he's totally okay now. We will drive by the tree tomorrow and see the lights then. 

November 27, 2014

Thanks to you

It's a rainy here so it's a perfect day to stay inside. The turkey is in the oven and family has arrived. Ivy slept on an air mattress in Noah's room and did some major teeth grinding all night. She might be sleeping in my closet tonight. Gray is bored in his room. Carter is peeling potatoes at the sink with Grandma and is almost as tall as her. Much yelling at football on the TV is a happening. It's loud in here. No one knows where anything is but me. I love it. So thankful.

I posted a video over at Listen To Your Mother. Do watch. Happy Thanksgiving! 

November 26, 2014

Pies! Pies! Pies!

I've baked the pies and other things and bought the stuff and filled the pantry and am checking things off my list at lightning speed. Jeff's on his way home from Portland with his parents and we are about to do up Thanksgiving big time. The kids have a half day so after I pick them up I'll be getting the oven going on its second round of baking. This busy-ness is super good for my soul today, everything's coming up Millhouse, and I might even squeeze in a nap.

November 25, 2014

The ups and downs

Hearing from my kid's doctor is very roller coastery.

I'm like YAY! He called me back and even before the holiday and he remembers who we are. I like this new doc. He is Awesome.

Then I remember oh wait, it totally sucks that my child needs this kind of doctor to begin with. Ugh. Plus he has not good news about the latest lab results. The area around my heart starts to hurt. This is not awesome.

But then he's encouraging and offering great suggestions and saying let's get you in sooner than your next appointment and let's get him off that scary med and on something that will work and that's pretty cool and exactly what I was hoping for.

And we hang up and I am back to reality really looking it in the face and I'm so so low. With worry and sadness and frustration. It's almost Thanksgiving and I am so thankful and won't let this cloud that but it is totally clouding up the place right now. I can't fake it or hide that.

Back to Seattle we go again and I'm praying that we get closer to the fix.

November 24, 2014

Let's Go On A House Tour

These aren't the official photos, just some I took myself for memories and also for documentation that one day every single room of our home was clean.

I remembered to take an outside pic just as the fog was starting to roll in. Our garage (not pictured) is to the right. Our master bath/bedroom is where all the block windows are on the left.

Well, come on in.

Here's a view of the front door from the inside.

As you enter, to your left is this room that we never did quite figure out what to do with. Our master bedroom hall is just behind that orange chair. We put our Christmas tree up in front of those windows. The rest of the year it is where the kids wrestle 24/7.

As you enter, to the right is our dining room. We had this large round dining table and chairs made locally. I hope it works for our next house. We eat big breakfasts here as a family on the weekends more than any other meal. 

Continuing straight through the entry you will pass the kitchen on the right, a little nook on the left, and head into our living room.

Nook. We had this drop leaf table & chairs made by the same guy who made our dining set.

Here's the living room where I do most of my reading. Through those windows you can see the ocean. We have never used the gas fireplace the whole time we've lived here.

And another view of the living room... as you can see we have a lot of windows and doors to the back patio.

Here's my very open kitchen. We eat almost all our meals at the bar.

This is the little hall that leads to our guest quarters aka Ivy's room and bathroom. The kids do their homework at the desk and I have push pins in all of the LTYM cities as I do every year.

This is the view from the desk- to the left there is a built-in desk where more homeworking happens. To the right is a linen closet and straight ahead is the guest bath with yet another door to go outside. 

Ivy's room which also becomes the guest room when we have visitors (I'll be changing the bedding for Jeff's parents' arrival this week!) To the right are two large double closets. To the left against the wall you would see the enormous and very pink Barbie dreamhouse Ivy got for her birthday.

And so here we go back through the kitchen to the other parts of the house. I love the solar light tube we have in the ceiling- hardly ever a need to turn on the light. Through that archway is the dining room straight ahead and you can turn left through there to head to the boys' wing.

First let's look back through the kitchen from the dining room. This really gives you an idea of how open everything is. You can also see the painting of two seagulls "The Anniversary" by Stephanie Donaldson that we bought after falling in love with it on display at the boardwalk. It won 1st place in the art contest last year! The painting with the driftwood frame to the right is of Bandon Dunes- we won it at a fundraiser earlier this year.

The hallway to the boys' rooms. The laundry room is down the hall and to the right, as is the garage.

The first bedroom is Noah's. 

Here's their bathroom. And the ruffle shower curtain is still in use! 

Carter & Gray's room. They also have two closets to the left.

Now let's head to the master bedroom which is like a retreat. It's where I get most of my work done, too. (You'll also see Jeff's La-Z-Boy that I keep joking will not be making the move but we shall see.)

On the wall you'll see some artwork by Noah that we had framed. And you'll also see the entry to our bathroom that we love so much. Through that hall are walk in closets on either side (mine's on the right.)

I had to take a picture of my closet because I don't know if I'll ever have one like it again and also I emptied it out for the real estate photos. Normally nothing is on hangers, everything is on the floor. I shoved it all into bags and hid them in the garage. Now I get to hang it all up tonight. Wheeee. This is also why Jeff really really loves that we have our own closets and he is praying the next house is just as accommodating.

Okay, back to the bathroom.

We also love the double shower, and the toilet is in the little room to the right.

Here's the view from the tub. I never did put anything up on that ledge.

And that will conclude our tour. If it was possible, I would just have this house moved to where we are going. Preferably on top of a huge basement. I miss having a basement a lot, and while the open concept in this house is so beautiful and light and great for entertaining, I wish we had a separate play room and den for the kids. So, next house. Can't wait to meet it. 

November 23, 2014

So much tired

The moving company is coming for an estimate tomorrow afternoon and then the realtor will be here after that. Jeff's parents will be here in a couple days for Thanksgiving and I can't fit one more thing into our fridge or pantry. I'm wondering where to put all our laundry for the house listing photos. I will be so relieved after all of this is over. I actually have long things I want to write but I am just so tired. Until next time.

November 22, 2014

Pieces of me

Ivy had Nutcracker rehearsals at the theatre today. I stood in the wings and felt glad that this is our life. That my kid gets to experience this and hang out in the theatre and become so comfortable and confident on stage so young. It was one of those moments when I could see some of my favorite parts of me that made it into her. 

November 21, 2014

Until the light turns green.

This morning was an everything behind schedule morning. An "I'll just bring your lunch to school later get in the car now!" morning. After drop off, while stopped at a red light in the rain I had a bit of a pity party. There was the morning and then the remains of the day still to come and all that would fill it, as well as a Mountain of people and things I choose not to write about. I invited it all and sighed and pity partied until the light turned green. Didn't change anything, didn't really make anything better, But it felt kind of right to give it all some acknowledgment. I see you. I know you're there type of thing. As if I can forget.

Then I got my latte. Then I got things done.

November 20, 2014

Where Are We Going To Live?

I never know what I'm going to feel like from one day to the next when it comes to this move. Hopeful or hopeless? Today I am so bummed out by the for sale options in the cities we've narrowed down to live in. And, yes, I realize that maybe our next house isn't for sale yet just like the house we're living in now is not for sale yet (but should be by the end of this week) and technically it wasn't even for sale when we bought it in the first place (I found it on Craigslist.) So then maybe something will pop up.

I just think it would really help me want to sell this house if I knew where we were going to be moving to. I need that motivation. Something to get me excited because right now I just want to crawl under the covers and have nothing to do with selling a house or moving. Anyway. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel the opposite.

November 19, 2014

It's that time again.

Well the book fair has come to the middle school again and I didn't have it in me to attend family night so I sent money with the boys and there went $30 on... not books. That's not entirely true- Noah did get the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid and a Minecraft handbook. And it's pretty sweet they were thinking about their younger siblings I guess.

November 18, 2014

Too tired to title

Jeff said it was 22 degrees at his apartment yesterday morning. I was like... we are all going to need coats! This does not make me want to move there any faster. I am quite used to the often sunny and 60 degrees here all year long. So I'm back to shopping for Uggs again. 

Today was our once-a-month trek to the "big city" for Noah's labs and then we always get dinner, do a Fred Meyer stock up (this time everyone got new chargers for their iPods and Kindles, someone got their first tube of Clearasil, and I bought the first roll of wrapping paper of the season.) 

The exhaustion is sneaking in again and I feel like I'm not even warmed up and to the starting line yet. 

November 17, 2014

I kept thinking it was Tuesday

Things went pretty smoothly with everyone back in school today. I was able to hang out at the coffee shop with my friends and then get some work done before reporting back to breathing treatment duty- much nicer with the new teeny tiny futuristic one that was delivered this afternoon. I even juggled dance lessons, school pick up, face-timing Mommal's 80th birthday party, and movie night with Ivy & Carter (Maleficent). Ivy sat on my lap the entire time, so no knitting done but I loved it. Now I'm off to figure out how to freeze time.

November 16, 2014

Pretty Perfect

Today was picture perfect even though I never picked up my camera. There was a moment I almost did, but I just stayed where I was on the couch... yarn on my needles, dinner in the crockpot, the kids outside throwing the football with dad while the sun shined and the ocean glistened. We rested and we got things done. I lined up someone to mow the yard and someone to wash all our windows. I think we just might put the house for sale this week. Good good stuff.

November 15, 2014


My favorite sweater Uggs bit the dust and I've been shopping around for a new pair mostly because my feet are cold in this house and they always kept them so warm. I never took them off. But I want a new style and I'm just not into what I'm seeing and I remembered my feet are still cold. So I thought maybe I should just buy some slippers. Seemed to do the trick. I told Jeff that I just saved a ton of money! And then promptly spent all that extra dough online at Sephora.

November 14, 2014


I was driving Ivy back to the doctor forty-five minutes away for her recheck (Forty-five minutes is not a big deal. It's a hassle though and can be precarious when you have to drop off and pick up your other kids at certain times. You have to allow for the driving time there, how long you'll be there, and then the driving time back.) and thinking how I felt a lot like I'd died of exhaustion and like a good mom dug myself up out of the ground and got right back to it because there's things to be done, places to be, prescriptions to be picked up and administered, and groceries and on and on. Being forced to chill out and hang in a hospital room for two days might sound like a vacation to some but it was just another set back for me. We have got to sell this house. One day, let alone two days, of dishes piling up and laundry don't even go there with the laundry. 

I made the kids eggs with bbq tools this morning. Then I missed taking a shower (I think I'm on day 3 now?) to get Ivy to her dr appointment in time. So all this is a fog I'm driving in as we go and I feel like my body is driving us there but I don't know how it's doing it. But that's what we do and it gets done. Somehow we get through the appointment and groceries get bought and then the pharmacist takes me aside to whisper just how much all of it is going to cost and I don't bat an eye. In between breathing treatments the house is looking pret-ty good. I rocked out dinner. There is kind of a pathway in the laundry room and I can kind of see the kitchen sink. And this is not complaining and this is not a list of look what I can do. But it will be nice to look back, when I have a moment of doubt and feeling low, that I am a good mom and can do the hard things even in zombie mode because this is me and this is what I'm made of.

November 13, 2014

A very long and beeping night

We are home now. My sick little sweet bug ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. What was supposed to be a doctor appointment turned into going to the ER turned into being transported by ambulance to another hospital.

I was strong when her breathing was scary. I was unfazed as the ER doctors looked worried and frightened (and that is not my favorite thing at all. No parent wants to ever see that.) But when they said I wouldn't be able to ride in the ambulance with her because I had Gray with me and so I would have to follow behind it the forty some minutes, I almost lost it. I wanted to keep Gray with me, but I did not want Ivy alone all that time on that drive, especially in her condition. Thankfully my brain started working and figured some things out and a dear friend came and got Gray and I got in that ambulance.

That was not how we thought our day would go, especially after a sleepless night before. But anyhow. Somehow we made it to night and her oxygen levels set off the alarm allll night lonnnnng. I  do not know how I am awake to type this even now but I am lying here next to her in bed until she falls asleep and then it's my turn.

All the breathing treatments and meds made her a bit loopy. She requested a salad, a regular chicken, and a coconut around 2 a.m. She loved that it "was just like a hotel!" She charmed every single person who laid eyes on her. She came home with a handmade quilt and three stuffed animals given to her by the ambulance guys, ER nurse, and pneumonia information lady. A monkey, tiger, and duck that she named Banana, Meat, and Bread because of course.

After she started feeling better today she made her hospital bed all nice with her gifts and balloons and announced that it looked just like she was a patient and people brought her gifts to get better. And I was like, that is exactly what it is, Ivy. 

We are home now. Our room was nice but after 24 hours I wanted out. I never would have imagined I'd actually look forward to cleaning my kitchen and tackling the laundry. They finally discharged us after 8 p.m. tonight and that is just torture. But I am so thankful we didn't have to endure another beeping night. And she is breathing and has color in her face and most importantly she is going to be okay.

November 12, 2014

In the middle of the night

I'm up with a sick little sweet bug. These times are rarer now and you'd think by the 4th kid nothing would phase me but it still does. I need to listen to her breathe. She takes up half the bed and wants all the lights on. I'm thankful for the washing machine and clean back-up bedding. For knowing better to go to sleep last night instead of staying up to knit and enjoy the quiet. It's certainly quiet now, except for the ocean. It's always loudest in the middle of the night. I'm going to miss it.

November 11, 2014

Oh, This Day

My neck is in knots. The kids were off today and I waited around all morning for the window repair guys and they finally came with the right window. It's in and that was our last step before listing the house for sale. I guess we're as ready as we'll ever be. Only now three-fourths of the kids have come down with colds again. There is much to be done and all I want to do  is sit and knit or read my book or truly just close my eyes and sleep without tending and caring and hearing the sniffing and hacking.

Good night.

PS oh, man I just looked at the clock it's only 6:39 pm.

November 10, 2014

The Bathroom

I was feeling a little out of sorts and my feet were cold. So before I cleaned up the dinner mess, ran the dishwasher, or put in another load of laundry, I took a bath. All the hot water was going to me first.

I told the kids and then retreated to my room. I put away my phone and lit a couple candles. It was really nice. I imagined that it might be the last bath I take in there. Our master bathroom is... enormous. It's about the size of a small Starbucks. The bathtub is the size of a small pool. I have purchased artwork - like from a gallery artwork - for my bathroom. I might be hanging on a bit tight because of this bathroom. I can't imagine ever living in another house with one taking up so much square footage. At first I thought it was ridiculous. Now I can't let go.

It's just a bathroom. I'm getting over it. And here's to hoping it's a huge selling point for the new buyers.

But back to my bath. Not once did a kid knock on the door - even after I was all dried off and had yet entered the real world of the rest of the house. When I finally was relaxed enough to clean up the kitchen, I left my bedroom and the house was quiet, the kids were even whispering, as if to honor and uphold my zen state. I'm thinking this could be a whole new way of life.

Maybe it will not be the last bath I take here after all.

November 9, 2014

Where the toothbrushes live.

One of the things that I'm most afraid of with selling this house is the showings. We - a family with four children - will still be living here while we try to sell it.

When I leave the house in the mornings to take them to school it looks like wild animals live here. The kitchen is frightening, because we use it for breakfast and lunch making and probably still dinner the night before.

The kids' bathrooms... oh don't even get me started. Toothbrushes are all over the place and toothpaste is on the walls. And none of the four toothpaste tubes have caps on. I also have a teen and a tween who take showers every morning, so, wet towels and rugs everywhere.

In an effort to stay on top of things and keep the truth hidden from prospective home buyers, I organized the kids' bathroom drawers today.

I have no idea how sanitary this is but it has to be better than keeping your toothbrushes out on the sink. Or maybe this is a total no brainer and is how everyone does it and I'm just now getting a clue. Wouldn't be the first time.

Also, as I went to labeling each slot I called the kids in and asked one of them who I will not name, "Which toothbrush is yours?" and he said "I forget." Um. And I'm like, "So... you just grab any toothbrush you feel like? Don't answer that." I opened up a brand new one for him. Fresh start.

I don't know what to do about the kitchen. We use pots and pans for everything. I did finally remember to get paper plates but you can't eat eggs on paper plates. Well maybe you can but I don't want them to. It's not like we're going to be showing the house every day - or even every week - it's a small town after all and not many people moving in. And they are just going to have to understand we live here. It's not going to be perfect. But at this tiny sliver in time there exists one bathroom drawer that is. For now.

November 8, 2014

Happy days.

Saturdays are happy days because I get to pick up my weekly CSA bin full of goodies. It only lasts until the end of this month and I'll be so bummed when it's over. This week included a big stalk of Brussels sprouts, two butternut squash, bok choy, hakurei turnips, lettuce, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and onion. I usually end up making soup or try a new recipe but my truly favorite thing is just to roast a bunch of the veggies in olive oil and salt. Which is what I plan to do tomorrow.

I did make my first pot of chicken & dumplings soup today with the carrots and onion and the kids ate almost all of it. Long gone are the days when a meal yields decent leftovers around here. When everyone wants seconds... well... not much left.

Ivy started rehearsals for The Nutcracker today. Which is one of my favorite things ever. She plays one of Mother Ginger's children. I've even already ordered her the gifts I will present to her after her performances so yeah I might be a wee bit excited about all of this... a gorgeous Nutcracker magic theater book and this adorable Clara ornament that looks just like her.

For the first time ever, I think, I am actually in the Christmas mood super early. I'm usually a "Let's wait until after Thanksgiving, okay?" person but I've found myself picking up gifts here and there and - despite packing up all my knitting stuff because I'm selling a house and moving and like I'm going to have time to knit - I decided to start knitting teacher gifts for the holidays. I was even considering knitting a little something for the holiday party goody bags for all twenty-three kids in Ivy's class but I think I've come to my senses on that one. Bendy reindeer in bulk on Amazon are looking pretty good right now.

November 7, 2014

Hope this counts.

Oh man. Fridays should be exempt from this blogging every day of the month thing. I almost didn't make it to this one. I can't believe I used to blog like every single day. Not sure how life is any different other than now I am always doing something instead of sitting down nursing a baby all the day long feeling feelings and thinking thoughts of so many things to write.

November 6, 2014

Just another Thursday morning.

Today we announced the 2015 cities for LTYM and it is so very exciting and so very hard to believe that I've been LTYM-ing for over four years now.

But it's not all bright lights and glamour- as the post went up and everyone was tweeting and sharing and our team was texting you would have seen me in a super mad rush packing a lunch while signing homework papers and peeling and chopping a squash for Stone Soup day in Gray's class, and also pitting a disgusting overripe avocado (the stone.)

I realized we needed to be out the door eight minutes ago and stood there in the kitchen trying to remember if I did my hair and makeup and was presentable enough to leave the house. No time to consult a mirror. Everyone made it on time-ish. When I got back home we had left the front door wide open.

I heard the Stone Soup was actually really great. Ivy and I had a tea party, read, and even tried to nap. I'm throwing a couple pizzas in the oven. We have parent/teacher conferences tonight and no school tomorrow THANK GOODNESS.

November 5, 2014

Moments Like This

Late last night I was checking on the kids in their beds when I noticed Gray was having trouble falling asleep. I curled up next to him and placed my hand on his back. He was facing away from me and as I looked at the the hair on his precious little head I was transported to the time in my life that he was my world.

He began a whole new volume of my life when he came along. He started this blog. When he was small we were never separated and lying there in the bed with me, man, I was there. He drifted off to sleep and it was the best thing ever. Seriously, we had a moment. 

I stayed there for awhile. I didn't want to break the spell. I didn't want time to march any further and anyone to get another second older. I quietly kissed his sweet head and slipped from the bed. I was just down the hallway when another feeling came over me.

I know my children well. I just had to check...

I tiptoed back to his room and peeked inside and


That turkey totally faked me out and pretended to be so precious and sleeping until I left the room! THEN he tried to make me feel bad: "Mom, you scared me!" Oh don't even.

I wasn't mad, though. I took away the Kindle, sure. If it hadn't been so late I would have even let him have it then. We still had a moment, even if it was under false pretenses. I don't know the last time we cuddled like that and who knows when he'll oblige again. It was the best.

November 4, 2014

Who Am I Waiting For?

This morning as we were all heading out the door for school I stood in the entry way waiting. And waiting. I think I thought someone was still brushing their teeth but the house was suddenly so quiet.

I looked outside at the car and tried to count heads. "Come on guys! Who am I waiting for?" And they were like "we're all in the car!" and I'm like "oh." I guess I'm waiting on me.


I posted one of my favorite videos from this year's LTYM shows at the Listen To Your Mother site today. Maybe I love it so much because I am so far removed from the baby days and mommy wars and judgment. I think once you have older kids no one cares anymore. At least that's what I've observed, or not observed, because it's just not on my mind really at all. I look back and have no regrets with my choices, but I can see now how a lot of the attachment parenting came so naturally because of my own anxiety issues. I don't know if it would have been any different if back then I could somehow know how I'd feel about it now. But it's a great feeling when you finally catch up and things actually start to make some sense. Very worth the wait.

November 3, 2014

Face Rock

I took this photo on our walk Saturday morning. It was one of those things where we just glanced over and I was like, oh, a rainbow! I snapped the pic super randomly and then didn't look at it until we got home.

When we were planning our move from Ohio I kept coming across photos of Face Rock and made sure we drove down here to see it when we were checking out the area. Little did we know that we'd end up living less than a mile away. It's something I see several times a day as I drive the kids to and from school plus all their other activities. And of course it's the backdrop for our daily walks. It's really something we are so used to... but then the sky will grab our attention, or a line of tourists will be standing beside their cars capturing a sunset and I'm reminded of how special it is to be able to live in such a place where you see breathtaking beauty every single day. 

I don't know if it's related, but there's just something about living here that is more than living in the moment. The contentment I feel is, well, I can't really think of the right words. Indescribable. I started out taking a daily ocean photo when we first moved here but didn't keep it up. There were so many times I would stop to take a picture but realized just taking it in, in person, was enough. It just becomes part of you, or you become part of it. Or really, both. It just is, and will always be something you know. A picture can not show that.

This has been one of the hardest parts about leaving, but also the most comforting. Because this is a place and time that I will choose to keep within me, and who knows how many of those come along in a life? I'm so thankful for that.

November 2, 2014

Slo-Mo Sunday

I've decided to participate in NaBloPoMo for this whole month and, um, here it is day two and I'm like... what to write what to write.

So, we fell back an hour last night and I am really feeling it. Longest day ever. But in a good way. We take our Sundays easy. Went on our walk - we ran into Leo the neighbor cat and he followed us home. He's still here. Did some cooking for the days ahead. Boxed up a corner of the house. Policed candy consumption.

Jeff heads out of town to his new office for the first part of the week and we are already starting to find a rhythm in the midst of the chaos in an odd sort of way. The days seem to be better- I'm more up than down this week. I've hired help for the yard and house cleaning and so that's two less things to concern myself with. I need to buy more paper plates though because the dishes are relentless. And don't think I haven't seriously given some thought to hiring an Alice to come stay with us.

I got a new phone but I haven't had much of a chance to really get to know it yet. I'm happy that it doesn't have a broken screen and can just make calls and texts. I was playing around with the slo-mo feature on the camera and captured Buddy aka Jon Hammy cleaning his adorable hamster face. I originally thought it would be great to start posting a little video/interview of the kids every Sunday, or the first Sunday of every month, but I guess we'll just start with the pets.

November 1, 2014

Super Kids

My kids are experts at cheering each other up. This is worth more than most things in my life. It gives me great validation as a mother and it offers glimpses that my dream of being just like the Bravermans can come true. 

They really came to my rescue the night before the school Halloween party. Gray had changed his mind about what costume he was going to wear and it was all-Hallow's-eve up in here let me tell you. But a trip to the closest store 40 minutes away to search the barest of bare racks of costumes and some support from his awesome siblings brought him back to the conclusion that he'll just wear what he already had. 

Trick or treating was the best. The weather was amazing, the kids were off school, we spent most of the day and evening with great friends and ended it at the pizza parlor in Old Town. We pretty much saw everyone we know. Things are in a constant stage of bittersweet. It feels like we are always saying goodbye now, especially as we take this move so so verrrry slow. It's what everyone wants to talk about. Who knows, maybe eventually they'll be saying "you're still here??" but in the meantime, no one seems to want us to leave, so that's nice.

Because of his allergies, I inspect Gray's trick or treat haul extra carefully and I was extremely disappointed to find that he didn't get nearly enough candy with peanuts in them for me to confiscate. Where are all my the Reese's peanut butter cups?

This year I was super organized and had the kids transfer all the candy from their Jack-o-lanterns into storage bags. Normally they just take their buckets to their rooms and months later when I'm changing their sheets I find all the candy wrappers stuffed in the sides of their beds but this time I used the "we're moving so you can't have Jack-o-lanterns in your room when we show the house" excuse. And so now their bags of candy are in the snack drawer where I can monitor just how many pieces they try to eat every twenty minutes.

October 29, 2014

I got dressed for this?

On Wednesdays mornings I help out in Gray's class. This means I have to put on an actual outfit and sort of do my hair. I get ready and make my way to the kitchen where the dishes are piled high despite my breaking down and buying paper plates earlier this week so I could catch up. There is no catching up in here.

Everyone wants breakfast sandwiches made to order and I do it because I have kids who hardly eat so when they want something I jump at it. More dirty pans and plates and knives but everyone eats.

In the meantime Gray's latest ailment is a broken leg that apparently happened last night even though he slept fine. He's hopping around and I'm not having it. I got dressed and all. He's going. Suddenly he can walk. Then I turn and look at Ivy. She's got two crusty pink eyes.

There's been a kid home every day this week. Which means I am stuck home, too. We have things to get done and instead more is coming un-done. We are supposed to be moving house and are only moving in reverse. This is maddddddening.

Last week when the guys came to replace our broken window they brought the wrong window. And I was relieved because we're going to list the house as soon as the window is fixed and now I just got another week or two and man I need it.

October 21, 2014

More waiting.

There is a cleaning person at my house and I did not clean before she came. I told her I would be over  here in the living room "working" which is totally true and I'm also maybe waiting until I have more lives on Candy Crush. That is exactly the kind of thing I do when there are so many things to do and I don't know where to start.

There is a small dumpster in my driveway. I'm about to fill it with the stuff in the garage that needs to go and will not be making it to the next move because it should have never made the move here from the last move.

We haven't listed our house for sale yet because... waiting. Waiting on me to get over my cold and get back on track to getting it show ready. Waiting on the cleaning person to deep clean. Waiting on a window to be replaced. Waiting waiting. And it's okay, because I am a big believer in perfect timing, so this must be just part of the story. No hurry. More ocean.

We also have no idea where we are moving to. I can't even narrow down which city it should be. We can live in the super cool college town with beautiful views but our house might be smaller and with no yard. Also busy roads. Small town living has gotten me wayyy used to only 3 stop lights. Or we could live out in the country. I like space and trees and views -- and less stop lights --  but the kids want a neighborhood and houses right next door.

I guess as long as we have good schools and a roof over our heads, it does not matter. But please oh please have a nice kitchen and lots of windows.

October 8, 2014

Quittin' Time

There are several instances in my life that can be marked as roll-up-your-sleeves times. I am in one of those times right now. I smell like carpet cleaner. Have been scrubbing off and on today. Everything in the name of getting the house ready to sell. The washing machine won't drain and the refrigerator won't stop draining onto the kitchen floor. I am tired and snapping at my kids which makes me not like myself very much at all, and so many other things.

My mom is flying here tomorrow so that Jeff and I can go away for our anniversary this weekend. Fifteen years deserves a weekend away. Vegas would be nice but now it's house-hunting in Corvallis. Which is still nice because I've never been and am anxious to see where we're going to be living. And also I've already put in for Vegas for our sweet sixteen.

Anyway, we finally got our Seattle appointment so my mom's going to head up there with us next week and then fly back to Chicago after that. There's just so much still to do and you roll up your sleeves and eventually you get through it, you make it, and it all gets done but there comes a point in the evening of a roll-up-your-sleeves day where you have to call it quits and just curl up with that book you've been reading forever now because as soon as you finally do get to open it your eyes go to sleep.

The tiredness and utter exhaustion sure has been a constant in motherhood. I can look back at it over the years, almost fondly. At least it's one thing we can count on. You'd just think that something so amazing as being a mom could get a break once and a while rather than it breaking us. When is motherhood's quittin' time? I'm too tired to finish this thought, but I get it.

September 23, 2014

It's time to move on. It's time to get going. What lies ahead I have no way of knowing...

We are moving on up. Again.

It seems to be taking me extra long to come around about it. I love it here. It's nourishing and beautiful and I can see the ocean from my house that I love so very much.

But, it makes sense for us to move on. It's just sooner than we ever thought. There was a whole week or two of hand-wringing and worrying half the night (literally) about how to tell the kids. I knew they'd be so upset. I just wasn't ready to deal with it. And so we decided to tell them last week and ended up putting it off for most of the day until we finally sat them down and their response was 100% on board excitement. All four of them. I was shocked.

We have awesome kids.

They really miss restaurants and stores.

I just can't figure out, why the tease? Why the beautiful house by the sea in a tiny tourist storybook town? And so finally I came to understand that this place must be my Pyramids, as in The Alchemist, " wouldn't have seen the Pyramids. They're beautiful, aren't they?"

We'll only be about an hour from some of the most beautiful parts of the Oregon coast. We'll still be in Oregon- a place that truly feels like home. We'll be closer to a lot of things that we kind of need right now. Yes, I'm still selling it to myself but I always love wherever I am when I'm there. I'm still here. Soon I'll be there. I've never been good with the in between times.

Until then, we have to sell our house. There is no big rush. But mostly because I am so tired that I'm weepy and grumpy and moving at a snail's pace and all I can think about are all the peanut butter and chocolate things. And slushies from the gas station. And boxes, again.

Title lyrics: Tom Petty "Time To Move On"  (a must watch & listen)

Just writing. 

September 12, 2014

So does the sun.

"The rain brings life." She says. "So does the sun." He replies. - Saving Mr. Banks

Yesterday I was filled with anger. It was the most horrible feeling inside my entire body. It felt a lot like grief.

I was standing at the little window in the pediatrician's office. A real doctor's office where I have to use every single drop of my faith to even enter the building. Yet I'm trying to be a good mom and get my child better. And this is part of the current deal.

I'll back up a little. For a few months we've been going through a diagnosis process. We've been seen by a specialist in Portland. Now we're back here doing some checkups that go along with it. There are scary things. I have questions. Three weeks ago on a Wednesday I call the office to speak with the pediatrician. Can she please call me back? I have two specific requests - one, I want to talk to her about one big scary thing and two, I want a referral to a better specialist in Seattle for a second opinion. ASAP.

Two days go by without a return phone call. That Friday I call first thing in the morning- the very minute the office opens. The receptionist takes my message again and notes that she does see I called on Wednesday and the doctor will be calling me back. I express how disappointed I am that I haven't heard back yet. She says the doctor has my message. I wait. Anxiously.

MONDAY MORNING I have yet to get a phone call back. I have now waited through the weekend Googling to my heart's discontent with my scary questions and unknowns and I am feeling so defeated.

First thing I call the office and ask to speak to a manager. She takes over, and apologizes and says she'll take care of the referral right then and there. She can do that, no need for an appointment (I asked because I wanted to know how to speed this process up even faster- if that was going to be the only way to talk to the doctor? Do they not use the phone anymore?)  No- I will be hearing from the doctor and she is processing my referral right now. It will go out tomorrow (Tuesday of that week) and Wednesday at the latest. That would be Wednesday of two weeks ago.

I finally got a call back from the doctor. No explanation other than it was her error that she didn't call me back earlier. We made plans for blood work to be done in two weeks which is why we were there yesterday. Which is why I was standing there at the little window in the pediatrician's office and they couldn't figure how to do a weight check on my child. I was supposed to stop by after the blood work to get a quick weight check. No appointment needed. But the receptionist didn't know how that could be possible. I literally said "So you don't know how to weigh him?" All they wanted was his weight. "I don't know how to put it into the computer?" Just write the grrrrrljhtljshktukjhslkjthgrrrr thing down on a piece of paper and put it in his chart I don't know why this has to be so difficult! 

They all converse among themselves and I even see the doctor in the hallway right there- she looks at me, then turns back to them and puts her hands up in the air and then turns away. Hands up in the air, like "whatever." Or "I don't know." Or "I don't care." She turned away and left.

I tell the receptionist to by the way please check on the referral. When was it sent out? I haven't heard from Seattle yet. It's been two weeks.


"Oh I'm so sorry..." and "looks like someone dropped the ball..." is all I heard and then I almost passed out. The anger filled me with such a force. My body went into fight or flight and I was ready to FIGHT emphasis on the eff.

The very person I'd spoken with on the phone who assured me it would go out- I mean I already have been put through such a time with poor customer service (if that's what you call it?) and all. She would take care of me! That person. She did not even start the referral. She got on the phone right there to Seattle in front of me. That did not help things. Because she could have and should have done that WEEKS ago.

They took my child back to be weighed. A nurse jumped back when she saw my face because I am certain I looked frightening. We left. I would like to also add that during all this time my four children were angels in that waiting room.

I wanted to walk out and never go back and honestly I do hope to never go back but I want that referral first.

I don't know how we got to the car but one foot put itself in front of the other and I was in my car and figured out how to drive with this angry monster inside of me. I do not know how such a place can be open for business and I am so P.O.'ed for all the parents who think this is it, who don't know that this is not okay. If this is how we're being treated, with a scary thing (you'd think they'd maybe up their game a bit? Just a wee?) what other balls are they dropping? I honestly would guess ALL THE BALLS.

Because the doctor is forty minutes from our house we stopped for dinner. Side note- leading up to this appointment I tried to sell the kids on coming along by saying "I'll even take you to McDonald's..." and their faces fell and Gray said "Not McDonald's. It's not real food."  And I was like, hello validation! It's happened! Wow I've done my good job!!! But McDonald's would have been really convenient and all.

So we ended up at Wendy's and I don't know if they are real food either but it seems like they are a little bit more. I think the lady taking my order was scared of me, too. It felt like someone had just died and then I had to immediately take my four kids to dinner and pretend like nothing happened. I could not fake it. I look back and think maybe I should have been on my knees with folded hands in those moments but I was in a fast food restaurant with four kids and we were hungry.

I stood behind an older man at the Coca-Cola machine that has a computer screen that offers like a hundred different choices of soda. He did not know how to work it and so I helped him figure out how to get his Dr. Pepper. So many buttons. We laughed about "the wave of the future" and so did the lady at the table by the pop machine and no kneeling before God required. He came to me.

We ate and I started to feel like I didn't have to do my deep breaths as much. We headed home and really great songs came on the radio, one after the other. I felt happy. The sky was amazing and after dropping off the kids at home I went straight to the water.

It was all so healing, and I wasn't resisting, and I felt like everything came together to empty out that anger for me even though I could do nothing to resolve it. Things are not fixed. Stuff still super sucks. But the fury was leaving. I could think a bit more clearly. And as I was getting ready to leave so was a surfer who turned out to be our acupuncturist and oh did he get an earful from me. But he heard me. He listened right there in his wet suit.

I headed home.

One foot in front of the other and we'll get there.

September 8, 2014

Well, now here we are.

I've officially delivered all of my little birds off to their first day of kindergarten.

By the fourth child, I must admit, it feels pretty much like a regular day. Ivy totally had the countdown going, though, and was no doubt my most-ready and most-excited child for her first day of school. But then we got there and she found her hook, got in line, and was off to class and sitting on the carpet with all the other kids before I could even take a pic.

She already knows quite a few of the kids in her class from dance or just being a kid around this small town. She met her teacher last week and so now they go way back.

So anyway, I guess it was time for me to go. I just turned around and was like, huh, guess that's it. I left and got my coffee. And then thought I probably should record this important milestone.

It's quiet. The kitchen counters still look like morning happened. I need to get dinner going in the crockpot. Maybe I'll get some work done. Then it will be time to pick her up, then pick up the boys, and I see how the days going faster happens. I am here and there they go.

September 1, 2014

Back to school blues

The backpacks are packed. Up until a few minutes ago they were empty and staring me down with open mouths. Waiting to be filled. Four kids. So much. Tired.

I thought I'd be more ready than this. But I could truthfully use another good month of summer laziness. No alarms. No lunch-packing and drop-offing and pick-upping and to and fro. Can't believe it's time again.

We took a little getaway this weekend and it was hard to come back to reality, even if our reality includes the ocean.

Gray announced that he doesn't want to play soccer this fall and I was all THANK GOODNESS because Ivy wants to play and Carter's in another theatre production and Noah's only extracurricular is watching Doctor Who and maybe things won't be so crazy. This also might be the year I get Gray to wear long pants and (whisper) maybe even jeans. He just ran away from me when I brought it up again. So I'm not holding my breath.

The backpacks are packed.

It's that time again.

August 16, 2014

Saturdays In The Summer By The Sea

I love Saturdays. It's really my only day with a bit of structure this summer. Jeff and I take our daily walk down to the ocean but add in an extra half mile or so on the weekends. We are back before the kids are awake and I'll go get donuts or make pancakes or like today I wanted to bake muffins but didn't have enough flour but we did have pancake mix, so we had blackberry pancake muffins (pancake batter baked in mini muffin tins) and we've been eating them all day.

Around 9 am I get my bin and bags ready to pick up our CSA shares. I hit the drive up at Human Bean for my iced latte. (Usually about right now I'm talking to my mom on the phone via bluetooth. "What are you up to?" "On my way to pick up my veggies, getting my coffee." Every week.) I head to the first stop, behind our acupuncturist's office. I check off my name and empty a bin full of veggie goodness into mine. (So much eggplant! Also: carrots, rainbow chard, beets, lettuce, basil, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, strawberries, purplette onions, and corn.)  I cross the street for the local grocery store's "farmer csa" and pick out my five little cartons. Usually I get all fruit there but today red potatoes, onions, and green peppers joined the apples and pears in my tote.

Then I go home and fill bowls and baskets on the counters and the fridge. 

The rest of the day is what we call a vacation day or a lot of nothing, which is easy here living in a vacation town. Maybe we'll pick more blackberries, definitely I'll be reading a book (All The Light We Cannot See --- oh my goodness) for hours on the couch with the back door open. Later I'll cook up some of the veggies and we'll eat a really great meal or maybe I'll just cook mini frozen pizzas in the oven. Or we'll just snack all day or whatever.

Last Sunday we spent the day with several families at our friend's lake house. It's pretty awesome to be at a lake house with the ocean just on the other side of the trees.

The kids swam and we took boat rides. We have no idea how deep the water was- no one could ever touch the bottom. We ate just-caught grilled salmon around a huge fire pit and had blackberry cobbler, of course.

There's still a few weeks until school starts and I finally took a peek at the school supply lists. Thankfully I collected everything they brought home the last day of school and after going through all that this morning (hello unopened packages of highlighters, #2s, folders that still have life left in them) I made my list of what we still needed and hit the brand new dollar store that just opened in town yesterday. I spent $20 and dare I say I'm done with the school supplies? Oh and PS $1 of that was for a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce- I was so excited because no other store in town carries it!! Also PPS I have yet to even consider the kids' closets for what they might actually wear to school. That's where the rest of our money will be going.

August 3, 2014

These Things I Should Be Writing Down

As I've abandoned any sort of regular record keeping of our life in the recent year or more (one of the best years of our lives yet, to be sure, so very worthy of being written about) a tiny panic sets in that if I don't write down the good stuff, the little things, will it be remembered? Will they think back to this summer that they picked pints and pints of blackberries in our yard each day? This morning as I poured batter onto a hot griddle and watched them excitedly forage for the fresh fruit we'd add to our breakfast? Our grilled dinners around the table and then eating homemade milkshakes while watching Dr. Who all piled together in the bedroom? Will I remember? I will now.

The summer we didn't go anywhere but lived in a beautiful place and did so many things even if we never left our home.

July 18, 2014

THAT lady.

Today I was almost that person who stands on the side of the road and takes a picture of cows sitting in a circle out in a big field. But it was a winding road and there really wasn't any place to park safely. So I just admired them sitting in the sun all cute with a breathtaking tree-filled mountain backdrop as I drove by.

Then I was that lady taking videos with an iPad at the pool. The kids had their last day of swimming lessons and I wanted to show Jeff how well they did and here's the thing- my phone didn't have enough storage to take the videos, so I had to use the iPad. And it's not even my iPad. It's Carter's. So I'm also the mom who lets her kid have his own iPad. I don't even have one, but whatever.

July 1, 2014

July July!

It is July. I don't know why this month gets its own shout out, maybe because it surprised me with an early arrival and it's a full-bellied month. The sun has been shining, swimming lessons are starting up, LTYM videos are almost ready, the kids' play opens in a couple weeks, and then I get to sneak away for a roadtrip down the 101 to San Jose for BlogHer. And just after that up to Portland for a couple days. Then it will be August.

August is something I'm looking forward to because it is the opposite of July. Empty belly. It will be welcome after this month's excitement and adventures.

For fun, some of my favorite July photos. I'm going to find my camera get my camera out this month.

parade, 2010

Porter County Fair, 2011

Porter County Fair, 2012

Coos County Fair, 2013

June 26, 2014

A Quiet House

The kids are still sleeping. I think summer vacation finally took. The house is so quiet. I was trying to read a book but it's not really keeping my attention. I made my tea and shuffled around the kitchen but then decided to sit still and keep them sleeping.

I remember when they were little and our summers were made of the backyard and my feet in a kiddie pool. Blowing bubbles for them to catch, closing my eyes in the sun every chance I could get. It's too cold here for a kiddie pool and we have a schedule to keep. Storytime at the library and dance camp and play practice and baseball. Soon swimming lessons and then hopefully, before school has to start again, we'll have the kind of days we won't ever leave the house.

Aside from a few Christmas moments that stand out, all of my childhood memories take place in summer. -The time I left my crayons on the table on our back patio and they melted and surprised my fingers when I touched them. - The summer that we visited my cousins in Indianapolis and my Aunt Diane made strawberry jam. It was the most amazing thing I'd ever tasted on a cracker. There was a drought and the grass was sharp and they weren't allowed to water their lawn and everyone was worried about the fireworks, but we still lit them. I held a sparkler for the first time. We listened endlessly to Parents Just Don't Understand.

When my mom tutored a little girl at the library and and my brother and I had free reign among the stacks. We would eat Cheez-its and I read my first Nancy Drew, The Secret of the Wooden Lady.  - Riding my ten speed bike. Everywhere. - Writing my first story on an old typewriter about a boy and a girl and a gazebo. - Summer enrichment class where we studied countries. I picked Sweden and brought in my Mommal's rice pudding on international food day. - The sprinkler in my grandparent's backyard that spun and shot out water so hard it felt like it was chopping off our ankles. - The entire summer I went to spend with my cousins in Louisiana. There was a lightning storm while we were watching a movie and the power went out and License To Drive got stuck in the VCR. We slept in the den where the Atari was and Bette Davis Eyes played on the radio. One day I'd call into the radio station and win a Heart cassette. My cousin Dayna and I made a spaghetti dinner for everyone and sauce splattered on the walls.

Where did my memories go for the other seasons? Maybe they'll come to me again when it's not so summer.

The house is waking up.

May 7, 2014

Gold Star

The kids got their report cards last week and I nonchalantly asked, "What if they gave report cards to moms? What kind of grades do you think I'd get?" Noah answered dryly, "Probably A's and B's."

Probably? And did you say B's?

Of course I know I'm not a perfect mother but I did not think my kids were on to that yet. I thought they'd give me all A+'s, right?

"Oh, is it because I don't always have candy in the house?" I joked because surely that was it.

"No, it's not that," he said. And then I changed the subject.

I haven't stopped thinking about it since. I barely ever got less than A's when I was in school - so this revelation is eating me up. But I wasn't ready to hear and I don't think he was ready to say.

My number one focus in life right now is pants. No other laundry matters more than the baseball uniforms and practice pants. If they've got a game tonight then they'll need their practice pants tomorrow, and vice versa. I will not let them down, they will have their pants. And socks. And jersey and where is your hat? Do you have your cup-gloves-helmet-water-fleece? Tie your shoes.

I might have some B's but I get perfect attendance, no doubt. I show up. They know it. Well, I don't know if they even know they should know it. It's not on their minds. I'm mom. I'm the background to their world. But they'd totally notice if I wasn't present and they would yell MOM! and search for me until I'm in their background again.

There are hard days with tests and we all struggle just to pass. But there are no grades and no report cards when it's the middle of the night and they come to find me, their home-base, healer, the place where they are safe. They always root to get as close as they can get to my heart. Maybe they can feel that a very important part of themselves is still inside there. And the only curve is my body to theirs. I am the grade. I am their gold star.

April 14, 2014

Ways to Listen to Your Mother and Consider Her Feelings

2014-04-12 23.47.49

'Tis the season for Listen To Your Mother and I'm so excited for all 32 cities to take the stage. I hope you'll be able to catch a show (or two?) 

A couple years ago Jeff interviewed the kids on the sly about ways they should listen to their mother and it was such a treat to come across it again... I had to share. Below is the list they came up with all on their own. 

Ways to Listen to Your Mother and Consider Her Feelings

Don't annoy her
Don't bother her while she's cooking
Don't wake her up unless it's an emergency
If she is resting, stay quiet
Don't insult her cooking
Don't fight over her iPhone
Listen to her the first time
Don't beg her to do something
Pay attention if she's talking
If she tries to wipe your nose, let her
Don't interrupt her while she's shooting videos
Nobody scream, nobody talk, and nobody snore
Get dressed on time
Don't argue about your homework
Try and keep my room clean no matter how many times stuffed animals spill out of Gray's bed
Never put your finger in a cupcake
Don't mess up her pillows
Make her happy
Give her art presents from school
When you are at a restaurant, do not goof around
If she tells you she wants to take a picture with you, don't grunt or groan
Go to bed
Give her kisses
Don't ask her for doughnuts, because she'll get doughnuts if she wants to
When she's going to the bathroom, never knock on the door
Don't be rowdy
Don't spend too much time on TV or iPods, especially at night 

It's fun to look back over this and see how almost every single thing up there still applies, even with the passing of time. Especially the one about my pillows. My kids will gladly tell you about my obsession with our expensive throw pillows and their proper care. 

Also, I'm totally okay with putting your finger in a cupcake it if is YOUR OWN cupcake. All other cupcakes and decorated baked goods, put your fingers away.