Saturday, April 28, 2012

an upgrade

When Brent graduated from boot camp as a Marine, I broke down and did something I never thought I’d do:  I put a bumper sticker on my Suburban.  It’s still there, a bit worse for wear, but I still love it.  It looks like this:


Last weekend, we upgraded my beloved Suburban.   The old one is 16 years old and has 220,000 miles on it.  We have loved it (almost) every day we have owned it.  But it’s old and tired and ready to be at least partially retired.  The new Suburban is 1 year old, and I can tell that we will love it as much as we loved the old one.  But it just didn’t feel right this week.  Until today.  I found a new sticker for my car.  See?


Now it’s PERFECT.   And I am once again a happy mama.  :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

more things I never thought I’d say

Let me start off with this:  raising 2 same aged boys (virtual twins) together is VASTLY different than raising 1 boy and 3 girls together—even if they are close together age wise.  They are tons of fun, but occasionally I wonder if we shouldn’t have just adopted more girls.  I KNOW the answer to that (it’s NO!) but once in a great while I’d prefer pink and frills to the things that come with boys…

Yesterday we went shopping for Brent’s birthday.  Turns out that the big winners were Ryan and Logan.  We didn’t find anything for Brent, but they ended up with some new spring/summer clothes.  In addition to the ‘normal’ things I kept repeating (“Yes, we’re almost done." and “I know you’re hungry.  I will NOT forget to feed you.  We will eat soon.”) I think I said 3 times at least, “Please get up.  You do NOT belong on the floor under that display!”, something I have never had to say before.  Also, “Please do not touch the mannequins.  They are not there for your hands!”.  Never said that before either.  After shopping, we stopped by the house then had to run Ryan to basketball practice.

It went downhill from there.  In the car on the way to practice, I had to say to them “You may NOT to throw basketballs inside the car!”  What the heck??  After muttering under my breath for a moment, I glanced in the rearview mirror just in time to see one boy try something else, and I nearly lost it as I said, “NO!  You are NOT to bounce balls off your brother’s head instead.  That is also TOTALLY unacceptable.”

It’s a doggone good thing that they are delightful and cute and fun and loved and wanted, because yesterday I definitely wondered if I was really cut out for this. Fortunately, an evening of fun and laughter, followed by a decent-for-here night’s sleep means I’m ready to tackle what they dish out today…with a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart.   I hope.  :)

bellevue downtown park

Monday, April 23, 2012

life in community

“For the body does not consist of one member but of many…If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”  I Cor 12:14, 26

We all live in communities.  Not just the physical neighborhood where we reside, but communities of people who share something in common.  Often there is overlap in those communities—there are people in our ‘school community’ who are also in our ‘church community’ and our ‘sports community’ or our ‘art/dance/drama/_____ (fill in the blank with whatever fits) community’.  The internet has opened the door to more opportunities to connect with others and build communities around similar interests, and interesting connections abound.

This was a difficult weekend in our ‘communities.’  A friend from our church community was diagnosed with brain cancer.  A friend in my homeschool community (a group of amazing moms homeschooling large families, most FAR bigger than mine!) lost her husband on Friday.  A family in our school community has a 17 year old son involved in a serious accident on Saturday afternoon, and he remains in critical condition in ICU in a medically induced coma.  The little school community has been hard hit this year!  Already they’ve dealt with another student being diagnosed with leukemia.  (You can see Katie’s story here and here and here).  Seattle Christian is a little school.  There are less than 250 kids in the high school, and only about 625 in grades K-12.  To be hit with 2 significant illnesses/injuries in a single school year is painful.  But the students are amazing.  Their faith is strong.  Their love is evident.  And their ability to pull together and rally around the one who hurts is inspiring. 

My little homeschool community—about 50 moms—lives all over the country.  We are diverse in many ways, yet over the years we’ve walked one another through a variety of deep hurts.  To know that these women would drop what they are doing to come alongside is powerful.  We’ve seen that this week, as one family in Missouri left their farm to go to Arkansas to ‘run the house’ of the gal who lost her husband unexpectedly.  The rest of us have done what we can:  pray, send cards and notes and emails of love, donate funds for food and gas, given flowers and plants.  It all helps.

The friend from church?  She’s being loved on and cared for too.  We have a couple in our small group who is further down the ‘brain cancer’ road than this family, and they have been notified.  They are willing to be there, to share the hurt, to act with compassion and empathy because they truly KNOW what it is to hurt this way.  Through them, our small group will be able to help out this family.  And that’s one of the big benefits of living in community.

Today, the hurt seems overwhelming.  In a way, it is.  There’s nothing physical I can do to make things better for any of my friends.  But I can pray.  It never feels like enough.  But it is.  And when we don’t know the words?  Well…

“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings to deep for words.”  Romans 8:26 

Can’t get better than that, can it??

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Moms Weekend, sophomore year

Interesting the things you learn.  Last year, Moms Weekend was quite the ‘eye opening experience.’  This year?  Well, I knew what kind of things to expect, and we made a conscious decision to do our own thing (mostly) and enjoy our time together. 

Fun?  You bet!  After a frantic, crazy Friday morning, I hit the road later than I wanted.  The drive over was beautiful!  As you cross over the Cascades, there’s a lake on the south side of the freeway, just over the top of the pass.  At our house, we generally go by in the summer when the water level is very low and all the tree stumps are visible, so we call it ‘Stump Lake.’  On Friday, Stump Lake was GORGEOUS.  Absolutely incredible.  With ice still on the lake and nearly 2 feet of snow on the shore, it looked quite cold.  But the sun was shining, and the part of the lake that wasn’t frozen was smooth as glass.  It was also as reflective as a mirror, and the snow covered hills, snow dusted trees, blue sky, and puffy white clouds were glorious in their reflection in the lake.  I would have given anything for a place to pull over and take pictures!  Words simply cannot do the scene justice.  I would have been content to sit there on the side of the road just looking at the wondrous scene…

This was taken when I did stop, looking north:


Yep.  It was really that beautiful on the drive.  :)

When I (finally) got to Pullman, I picked Emily up at her sorority and headed to Moscow to my friend Noel’s house.  Noel graciously houses me when I go visit Em, and this year she got both of us.  We visited with her and some of her children for a bit, then headed off for dinner.  After dinner, we went to the Moms Weekend Fashion Show.  Very fun!  It was amazing to see the creativity in the design school at WSU, and it was announced at the show that one of the designers was interning for the summer with Betsy Johnson.  Impressive!  Emily decided she had missed her calling (ha!  but she IS very creative!!) but agreed that she would stick with history as a major. 

Saturday morning bright and early (or as bright and early as I could rouse Miss Emily!), we headed to the craft fair on campus.  Found some fun stuff, and bought a Mother’s Day gift for my mom.  Then we hit the grocery store, stocked up on our lunch of choice, and went for a drive.  Emily doesn’t have a car in Pullman, so when I come over we take advantage of the car and explore the Palouse.  Last year we took my camera and went ‘barn hunting;’ this year we decided to check out a local state park.  Ummm…sure.  Not necessarily such a good idea.  Steptoe Butte is incredible, but the road to the top?  NOT a good place for 2 people who are terrified of heights!  The road is narrow and windy, with a steep drop-off on one side, and quartzite cliffs on the other.  There are no guard rails on the road, and no ‘wide spots’ for pull outs.  Fortunately, there was also no traffic.  By the time we made it to the top we were both laughing hysterically, probably out of self preservation, since at that point tears were the only other possibility.  But it was worth it.  The view from the top was incredible!




Saturday night was the concert, and although I’m not a huge Kelly Clarkson fan I can honestly say it was an outstanding concert.  We had a great time, and once again I’m grateful for the time with my girl.  A Starbucks stop Sunday morning, then I dropped her off at the sorority and headed back toward home.    I did a  little exploring on my way home this time, and found some more cool buildings:



Oh to have the freedom to explore at my leisure, taking pictures when and where I want.  It’s hard to do that when you are driving!   :)  (I told Emily I wanted to explore the Palouse on a Vespa.  She laughed so hard she nearly choked on her coffee.  I’m glad she thinks so highly of my ideas!) The drive home was mostly uneventful, but I got some firsthand experience learning about the vast cell service wasteland that is eastern Washington!  After a handful of back-and-forth attempts that were thwarted by dead zones, I finally connected with an old friend from high school.  It was fun to chat, and a great use of my otherwise (mostly) unoccupied time.  I enjoyed catching up and didn’t have to worry about taking time from anyone else, since I was alone!  That’s the way to do it.

Overall, I’d say that this year’s Moms Weekend was much more successful than last year’s.  It’s nice to know what to expect, fun to have some ‘traditions’ with my girl, and exciting to think about what to do next year when Tori is over there too.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Apparently, Logan has a new ‘girlfriend.’  I use the term loosely because he’s only 7, and because…well…look:

Meet TwiggyIMAG0188

But, he introduced her to me as his ‘girlfriend.’  Good thing, since that’s about as close to a girlfriend as we’ll allow for many MANY years.  :)

I am back from Moms Weekend at WSU with Emily.  Hopefully a Moms Weekend post is forthcoming.  Sometime soon, even.  In the meantime, I’m off to start my day. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

well, they’re learning something

2012 has been quite the year so far.  I can only think of one other year—2000—when our family has been this sick.  That year, it was bronchitis passed amongst the girls for several months.  This year, it’s been a whole bunch of things:  colds, stomach flu, food poisoning, stomach flu again, and now more colds.  And it’s not only the kids this time!  I’ve been sick with most of it, too.  I don’t think I’ve been sick at all for over 10 years, and this is just not fun.  Anyway, Logan’s been quite ill with a nasty cough, sneezing, runny nose, and a strange temperature (104+, but only for 24 hours).  Generously, he shared.  With Ryan, then with Jim and me too.  So this morning, as I’m hacking and coughing away, the boys and I had the following conversation:

Mom (said in a teasing voice):  Why is it you only share the things no one wants?  And you did it without being told, too.  Goofy boy!

child 1:  Umm…well, I just thought I was supposed to.

Mom:  Not sick stuff!  We keep that to ourselves!  Remember—wash your hands, cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough, throw away your tissues? 

child 2:  But Mom!  We’re SUPPOSED to share!  Doesn’t the Bible says God loves a cheerful giver??  We gave cheerfully!

I found it hard to reply while doubled over in laughter.  Of course, with the nasty cough, I also found it hard to breathe.  Oh well.  They say laughter is the best medicine…

“A cheerful heart is good medicine…”  ~Proverbs 17:22