Thursday, July 25, 2013

Where you fit in

Dan has such a distinct style.  Sometimes I think he has a style all his own.  It's easy to think that when people dress up as him for Halloween.

And then I go home. And I see hints and glimpses of his style all around me.

And then my family goes to the rodeo and I realize that my husband isn't entirely unique. He belongs to a population of individuals. He fits right in with that crowd.  He would no longer look like a fish out of water if you looked at him here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Day

I wanted to post something about our day.  All I can remember or today is getting kids up early and then trying to keep them up happily.  Lee pooped seven times today. It might not sound like much, but he's eating all real solid foods now like the rest of us. Did any of you manage that volume?  I didn't think so.  I ran out of diapers while running errands and had to use two kleenexes.  Picture that.  the only thing between me and disaster was two thin pieces from a travel pack I found in the back of the glove box. That was a stressful half hour.

Also my son while at a friend's house this evening decided to climb on top of their dresser and then jump off. Because nothing can go wrong with that scenario right? It wobbled so he bailed haphazardly and banged his leg up.

On the plus side we made it to a special store this evening and bought birthday presents for Aunt Katie.  All I will say is that Aunt Katie is going to have a fun birthday.  Otherwise I will follow my lifelong tradition of letting the cat out of the bag. I just get so excited.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Photo Madness!

I finally sat down and downloaded the photos off my camera since the beginning of May.  Whoo-Boy!  There were a lot to sift through.  Sadly not enough for some events and loads too many of others, but as I have no ability to ration my photos here goes:

Remember how back in May Gregory turned 4?  Yeah, we had a party.
 We went on a field trip the first Friday after school got out.  We went to Lark toys and then over the river into Wisconsin to get some awesome ice cream.  I don't usually rave about any food, but this stuff was worth the drive!
 I found this picture on my camera.  It made me laugh.  Now we will have a photo to put up if ever Charlotte's dog runs away from home.
 Charlotte learned out to ride a two wheeler in this green haven.
 We picked strawberries.
 Lee thought he would help by moving my bucket.  He spilled my bucket a few times before I started dumping my bucket into Charlotte and Greg's buckets.  We still managed 4 pounds of berries in an hour.
 Dan worked all of the fourth of July!  And by worked I mean he got to work at 6 am and never stopped moving or seeing patients until 10:30 am the fifth of July.  So the kids and I had to party without him.  We filled the day with three separate parties and then watched the municipal fireworks.  I, like any good mother of this technology age, didn't take any photos during the day.  I got these two just before it got too dark:
 Live action.  Those two boys didn't stop moving until the fireworks started.  It was fun to watch their glow sticks bounce around the darkened field after the sun set.  Then with the first big bang Greg yelled, "This is so pretty!"  Totally worth it.  Plus, I've decided after three straight years of Dan working the 4th that at least its a holiday designed to be out and about with other people.  It makes us miss him less.
 After receiving no sleep overnight on call Dan came home and crashed for about four hours.  Then he got up and in twenty minutes got us out the door to go camping.  This is the shot of all the excitement as we were going through Culver's for dinner.  As a side note, Culver's has got to be the best fast food restaurant around.  Argue with me till you're blue in the face, but you will not change my mind.
 And this is what the kids look like when I'm not trying to take a picture of the excitement.  Who doesn't love a pirate eye patch?
 Camping at whitewater state park on July 5-6th:
 I thought it was funny that I had a photo of Charlotte's dog and then randomly one of Blue Sky (Greg's dog)
 "Hey Look!  Dirt Mom!"
 A lot of going in and out of the tent happened.
 Also once the tent was up Charlotte forced Greg to ballroom dance with her in it.  He was not thrilled about the idea.  That was pretty funny.
 Walking over whitewater river.
 Dirty face
 More s'mores
 You guys, this is a picture Dan took trying to get Charlotte and me catching fireflies.  That is next to impossible with our camera, but a good memory anyway.  Fireflies have got to be one of the mid-west's best summer things.  They were out in full force and dancing all around our tent.  It was amazing!
 Did you see that photo of Greg with squinty eye smile?  Here's where he gets it from:
 Here's a better attempt to get Dan not looking totally exhausted.
 Breakfast the next morning.  Toast over an open flame.
 This is another amazing thing about the mid-west summer.  A July morning looks like this green glory:
 No dusty brown of the arid west.
 Lee helped Daddy pack up the tent.
 After camping we went to John Latsche state park.  The entirety of this park consists of one hike up to the top of a hill overlooking the Mighty Mississippi.  The hike is rated as difficult.  Dan said, "How could it be considered difficult if the whole thing is just steps?"  I'll tell you how, half an hour of steps up, none of those steps is even, and also try doing it with a squirmy 20 pounds sitting atop your shoulders.  He uses ears as handles.
 But it was totally worth it. Half way up:

 The view from the top.  Stunning.

 Then we walked all the way back down.


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The things that Rub Off

Yesterday was our great eight year anniversary.  We celebrated by going to a memorial service and then working on our own individual work, by which I mean that Dan studied his something medically and I played on the laptop in the basement.  I ask you though dear reader, how much "studying" do you think a body does while lying on the bed?  So I call our productivity level even.  There was no big fan fair, no out for dinner, no real presents either.  I made him some homemade freezer jam (mostly because the strawberries weren't going to last too much longer.). He got me the fixings for some s'mores and a card.  The s'mores were because he invited me on a family camp out Friday night and into Saturday since he will be post call.  Sounds pretty good to me.

This was not what I thought my anniversary would be like growing up.  I thought I'd be the couple doing fancy, special things.  Turns out I'm not.  And I'm pretty ok with that.  You want to know why?


That man has rubbed off on me.  I turned off our AC a few days ago because I was feeling chilled inside our house.  In the middle of summer.  Ridiculous.  I haven't turned it back on.  Mostly because I don't think we really need it on at the moment, but at the same time think of the money we're saving!  This is Daniel's doing.

I have recently developed a habit of losing my phone.  This is because I don't always take my phone with me places.  Shocking, I know.  Then when I need it I have to search for it.  You know what though? It's kind of nice not being connected to my phone.  Turns out I'm more connected to the people I'm with.  You know who never answers his phone? Daniel.

He is so serious and pragmatic and sensible.  It's a good thing that there's also a lot about him that tickles my funny bone and is also ridiculous.  It endears him to me.  Hopefully I can do the same for him. We truly have had a great eight.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Things We Do

Today Dan and I attended a memorial service for the 30 year old son of a consultant Dan works with.  We never met him, but Dan really liked the consultant and he and his wife have been so very gracious to us.

I talked to Charlotte about why she was going to a friend's house while we were gone and what we were doing.  I realized that trying to explain our social customs is really hard sometimes.  Why do we have memorial services?  What do you say to someone who lost their son?  What even can you say?  So instead I just show up.  I don't know what to say, but I'm here and I'll stand in line for an hour and a half to show you that I care.

We got to the funeral home and stood in line to give our condolences.  An hour later we were closer to the front of the line and looking at photos of this young man.  He's my age.  There are photos of him young, when I was young.  He was in college when I attended college.  His dad went through a misguided mustache phase, like mine did.  (Sorry Daddy, but that thing looks so funny in your wedding photos.)  I thought of all the life that he lived.  And all the life he had yet to live and wont.

I thought of all the funerals I've been to in the past.  They were hard because it was my family, but everyone was so much older than me (at the time).  Also, probably I was so much younger.  I was emotionally much like Charlotte tonight, I was physically older, but still I didn't really get it.

Tonight I got it.  Did that come to me with motherhood?  Understanding another mother's love?  This mom, this son, this loss.  Of course I have never lost a son so I can't fully get it.  I can't because just thinking about the possibility makes my heart break and hurt so bad tears come to my eyes.

And then suddenly I'm thinking of the most recent funeral of a loved one that I wasn't able to attend.  The funeral of my cousin's tiny baby girl.  So much love, so much life, so much promise lost.  She will never have walls of photos of her.  Snapshots of her life.  I'm standing in a room filled with strangers for a memorial service for someone I never met and my eyes are tearing up and I'm struggling to keep it under control because who cries for someone they don't know?  Only I'm not crying for someone I don't know, I'm crying for everyone I do know.

And probably that's why we have memorial services.  It gives everyone a safe place to grieve.  A free pass on tears over people we will never stop missing.  A way of showing love without needing to have the right words.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Like Riding A Bike

I've been teaching Charlotte to ride a two wheeler.  She had the desire and I asked Daniel to teach her, but, well, he's a medical resident so you know who ended up teaching her.  I've also watched her learn to ice skate.  We have also started violin lessons.  Through these experiences I have learned a few things about my daughter.  First, stay positive.  She may complain and throw things and insist she can't or won't do something.  She may scream that I'm not fair.  I have to forever remain positive because as soon as I slip it's like a crack opens up and her frustration flows right in.  Second, be firm.  It is hard to do both numbers one and two together, but that's the only way to urge her forward.

You see, I have a daughter that doesn't naturally like to be out of control.  She doesn't like to plunge into the unknown or race ahead.  Honestly I'm grateful for this attribute in her.  These things can be such a great asset for her, but it does mean she requires a person who doesn't give her wiggle room. Also a person that will always have unyielding confidence in her and her abilities when she isn't sure of herself.

I am so proud of her overcoming her fears and learning to ride her bike.  She was learning how to go downhill Saturday when she crashed.  I was standing at the top of the hill and watched in slow motion her wobble, gain control, wobble, gain control, and wobble out of control until she panicked and crashed.  My heart fell and I was frozen for a few seconds before I realized I was the one that had to help her.  She was bleeding, shaking, and frantic.  She never wanted to get back on that bike.  I never wanted to make her.  She walked her bike back a while, but I had to put my foot down and make her ride.  I stood there, listening to her shrieking, insisting she try all the while wanting to tell her she never had to try again.  I was so proud when she did.

She is so hesitant and I get so used to having to urge her forward, but then I turn around and she's zipping around doing things that I never thought she'd figure out she could.  She can skate backwards, she biked downhill Sunday night.  She can do really hard things.  It happens in the blink of an eye, and I can't figure out when or how it happens, but she suddenly has confidence in herself and joy in those things she was terrified of.

It makes me wonder about those things that still hold me back, those people I don't reach out to because I'm nervous, those activities that make me feel out of control.  Most specifically those things that keep holding me back from feeling like this city and this time in my life is my home.  I see myself living confidently and enjoying, then I wobble, then I regain control, then I wobble.  At what point will I look back and realize that I've done this long enough to be confident in myself?  In my family?  In my motherhood?