Wednesday, May 07, 2014


Before we came down here I thought I had no idea what to expect.  I'm not sure what I did expect, but this isn't it.  It is so much more and less and kind of sort of sideways from everything normal in my life. I love it and hate it and thrill at our adventures and ache for consistency.  So before it's gone I thought I should write down some tidbits of life here.  (I just love the word tidbits it sounds so appropriate to its usage and funny on my tongue)
This is out our back door.  Can you even believe how lucky I am to be living in a place where I get to wake up to geese, and egrets and fishes? Beautiful. And doubly so since it has continued to be cold back home.  It feels like my insides have thawed.  I am so very much like my grandma in this sense.  The cold goes right through to my bones. (Which Dan says is a silly saying that makes absolutely no sense whatever, but I don't care because that's exactly how it feels, you know?) I wasn't even aware of the frozen nature of life really until I walked outside without shoes on and it was glory.  I bet Lee thinks so too because I can NOT keep shoes on that kid. Shoes or no shoes I think that perhaps Florida in April/May is the most glorious place on earth. 

On the other hand, what isn't pictured is the view from about 90 degrees around.  It is the freeway.  The constant sound of the coming and going of humanity. Even at 1 AM. I thought after a while I would get used to it and not hear it anymore, but I guess it hasn't been long enough yet. It is such a funny clash to my brain.  The kids and I happened on a momma goose with her goslings at the edge of that pond the other day on our way home from swimming. We stopped and watched as she patiently ushered them in the right direction while they wandered this way and that. It was funny to watch her issue warnings to them about us. I felt like we were somehow living in the pages of a book while life just buzzed around us.  How is it that life can move so quickly and so slowly at the same moment?

That's what living here is though. Fast and slow and different each day with a sameness about them all that strings them together into the narrative of our life.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Coming home

A year is too long a time for me to plan for. A year is only a good length of time for remembering. And sometimes not even then. Sometimes a year ago turns out to be foggy memories cobbled together from photos taken and words written and emotions felt. A year is forever in the life of a young child and a second in the eye of his mother.

With that in mind I thought I needed to write down our experience of coming home. It felt magical I tell you. The kids did so well in the plane. Lee even made a few flight attendants laugh. Daniel had been home a week and had Saturday, the day before we were coming off. He cleaned the house and organized the fridge and coat closet and our bedroom closet. And he went grocery shopping.

Flying home to him reminds me of our 7 month engagement spent almost entirely apart. We flew to see each other. I get off the plane and walk. This time I had my hands completely full so even Lee had to walk. It was very slow with heavy lifting from everyone. Our plane came in at the farthest gate from baggage claim so we rode a few walkways, but mostly we slowly made our way to baggage claim. With every step my anticipation grew. He had said he was running late so I didn't anticipate him being there. We made it to our spot and dropped our bags and suddenly he was there wrapping the kids in a big hug. Receiving presents from Charlotte and taking my load from me. I am always surprised at the level of happy I feel coming home to him though I guess I shouldn't be by now.

We made it home and I walked in the door of my house and was confronted with the comforts of home instead of the inevitable mess we always seem to leave it in. It was like a real vacation without the extra work tacked on behind. Then we all unpacked together leisurely with jokes and laughter.

Today I was able to spend inside with the kids taking down Christmas because of him. We played and made cookies and got everything boxed up all at once. That wouldn't have been possible without his work. I work hard to make so many things in his life work. And he does the same for me. So that's something worth remembering.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

While I'm Bragging

This is a video of Charlotte's first violin recital. She did a twinkle variation played on the open E string. I was so proud of her getting up there all on her own which was the hardest part for her.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Vomit and Other Christmas Items

For some reason throwing up and Christmas seem invariably connected in our family.  Not sure why.  It just happens.  This year's reincarnation of pukefest happened for the last five days.  FIVE DAYS.  During that time Lee was sick and Greg was sick then I was sick then Greg was sick again then Charlotte our last bastion of health succumbed and spent Sunday looking like death warmed over.

Speaking of which I have noticed a clear division of what the sick face looks like at our house.  Greg and I turn pasty, ghostly white.  Dan, Charlotte and Lee get sort of green looking with purple raccoon eyes.  I have never seen so dramatic a change as I do in Charlotte's face when she's sick. It was horrible. Also I kept feeling bad because I wasn't getting any of our Christmas things done.  We weren't baking.  We weren't delivering presents, we weren't singing songs.  I was feeling decidedly left out of the season. And on top of all that Dan was GONE.  Gone I tell you! It was residency interview weekend and call weekend and so he saw very little of the horribleness that was The Barfarama.  There was no way I could have made it through without the very thoughtful and generous help of my friends and neighbors.  I am overwhelmed with the support I get from people here.

Anyway, since Charlotte was sick yesterday she couldn't go to school today.  By my count she was student number 6 in her class to be sick in the past week.  And in an effort to slow the progress of this horrible virus she wasn't allowed back until 24 hours of symptom free had happened.  But she was perfectly fine today. She was fine and I was fine and Lee was fine and Greg was fine and did I mention that we had been stuck inside for five days? Because yeah.  I'm not a homebody.

So today I decided we weren't staying home.  And I also decided that we weren't going to watch any screens.  No TV, laptop, iPad, DVD player.  And that's when I finally welcomed in Christmas.

First, when Greg woke up today he was howling with tears.  This he does occasionally.  Any and every thing will set him off and the only way to stop it is to completely change his environment.  So we decided to try out Moms and tots ice skating.  It was our first time and we were the only ones on the ice.  For nine dollars (one adult and one youth and one skate rental) we had the ice to ourselves for an hour.  It was amazing.
 Lee, in true form wanted so very badly to be with the big kids he got that cage thing and figured out how to clumsily move himself around the ice-in skates that were two sizes too big.
 I had to get a guy that worked at the REC center to take our photo because again, we were the only ones there. Also I was totally sweating.  No need for the heavy coat when the rink is indoors!
 Skating was super fun right up until the Zamboni came out to smooth out the hockey rink next to ours.  Then the boys rather quickly gave up on skating and watched the process with a keen interest. That's alright Charlotte and I raced (she's faster than I) and twirled (she's smoother than I) and had fun. She even taught me how to stop, which I never knew before.  My preferred method is running into the wall.
Here is Lee when we had finished our hour.  You can see here his most preferred shoes these days are his boots.
 After the ice rink Charlotte decided that we needed to have our very own Christmas pageant. Mary and Joseph started out in Lee's room and traveled to Bethlehem in my room.  Baby Jesus was born and put in a bowl or manger whichever you prefer.  The nativity went well until the shepherd really REALLY wanted to hold the baby Jesus and Mary wouldn't let him.  Since it was about a half our past the shepherd's nap you can imagine how that went.

After Lee went down for a nap the three of us headed to the back yard and went sledding.  Charlotte discovered sledding downhill while standing on her sled like it was a snowboard.  When she got too scared she'd just fall off.
 After sledding and shoveling the driveway, and then baths, and then a successful treasure hunt looking for my lost ring we decided to make gingerbread men.  We only made the dough though.  Save some fun for tomorrow. Just before bed we rounded off the night with A Charlie Brown Christmas.  So not really a screen free day, but a pretty amazing "sick day" if you ask me.

Below is a video of Charlotte's skating.  Thanks to Great Grandma and Grandpa's Christmas presents the last few years Charlotte's lessons have taught her these skills. (Sorry my voice is so loud.)

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Christmas Shopping

Saturday afternoon, when Dan got off work, he and I decided to take a trip out to Cabela's and the Outlet Mall to do a little Christmas shopping. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I feel I have to write down some of what happened.

We were in Cabela's and after spotting Santa and sitting on his lap for a photo (except not Lee because the whole world would have come to an end) the kids got pretty hyped up about Christmas presents.  Except oddly not for themselves. Santa asked Charlotte what she wanted for Christmas and she said, "I don't know. Surprises I guess."  I attribute this to not watching any commercials on TV for however long its been since we cancelled cable TV and only watch things on Amazon prime. At any rate they were excited to find presents for other people.  

The tricky part about present shopping with the whole family is that everyone you are trying to buy for is standing right there.  Charlotte found a whistle she thought Lee would enjoy.  She wanted to keep the surprise (not realizing that his memory doesn't last that long) so she attempted to put it in her pocket.  I told her that we can't do that until after we pay for it.  Somehow Greg must not have heard that exchange.  About twenty minutes later we were in the camping section looking at flashlights for Daddy.  The kids agreed on a camping lantern to give to Daddy as a present.  As I'm trying to figure out how to get this across the store without Dan noticing Greg excitedly comes up to me and stage whispers in my ear, "MOM! I have my present for Daddy in my pants!" Yes, that's right.  He had taken a different flashlight off the shelf and shoved it down his pants.  Merry Christmas and a happy new felon!

The keeping the surprise lasted through check out as well.  I was paying for Dan's gift and I had hidden the gift Charlotte had picked out for Greg.  I told Greg to go look at the magnets.  He didn't want to, but whining about not wanting to distracted him enough that the checker lady quick took the present and put it behind the counter and then in the bag without him noticing.  Charlotte also didn't notice the quick moves of the checker because about 10 seconds later I hear her say, "OK MOM! NOW!" I look over and she has Greg in a head lock with one arm and is covering his eyes with the other. Nothing says I love you like nearly wrestling your brother to the ground.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lee's Words I Love

Lee is getting a lot of words right now.  Some are not fun (MINE! NO!), but some are very, very fun.  He doesn't say them right and the mispronunciation makes them all the more endearing to me. I'm not even going to try to spell out how he says them.  I'm just writing them to remember.
Nap time
belly button
Kara (Charlotte's friend)

Monday, November 18, 2013

What's for dinner?

Today I sat down and planned our food out.  It's printed out and currently hanging on our fridge.  Then I wrote a list and went to the store and purchased all that food.

All that took from 9:30 until 1:30. And also about $250. Gah!

But, it's worth it for the feeling I have when I look at a fully stocked fridge full of food that promises to be delicious.  As I was checking out the lady behind me noticed a box of pop tarts to the side of the register and asked, "These aren't yours are they?" To which I shrugged and said, "No." Then she said, "They didn't look like they belonged with the rest of the food you had there."

I thought that was funny because I'm not opposed to pop tarts every now and then.  I didn't want them today and whats more the part of the food that was left was all produce, baby lettuces, avocados, onions.  She didn't see the four boxes of mac n cheese (one of the few things I can count on Lee to actually eat) or the hot dogs (a favorite of Greg).

Often I wonder if I'm really feeding my children and my body the right things.  I hope I am.  I don't consider myself an extreme of healthy living or eating, but I'm certainly not buying boxed dinners every night.  I've never done a fad diet, but I've also never had frozen dinners nightly either.

And for me, for this family, for us maybe that's the key. Middle of the road.  Sometimes cookies are eaten instead of apples.  But so long as my kids know what asparagus, and turnips, and celery are I think I've done my part.

Now ask me that tonight when I have a young boy that throws my dinner on the ground instead of even trying one bite and you might get a different answer.