Friday, July 29, 2011

The Wind

by Robert Louis Stevenson

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies' skirts across the grass--
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!



I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all--
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!



 O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!




The nearest town to my parents, Wells, is notorious for wind.  Wind, wind and more wind.  Adam brought his kite and has been taking advantage of the breeze.  Now, the question begs, is Adam more obsessed with his kite or am I more obsessed with Instagram?






We'll call it even.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Swing

by Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!



Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--



Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!




And then, of course, there's Mark.


my cameo...taking clothes off the line with my mom...I could rhapsodize about clotheslines, I love them



I don't know who's crazier in this picture, Braeden for lying there or Adam for taking the picture instead of stopping the madness.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

5 Senses

This morning I went for a run at 6:00 a.m.

I heard birds chirping, water tumbling over rocks in the creek and the gravel crunching under my feet.  (It is easier to run on gravel than pavement I have learned.)

I saw many, many shades of green, a deer, two rabbits, hay fields, trees, sagebrush, wildflowers, the mountains I've loved all my life and vivid blue sky stretching from mountain horizon to mountain horizon.

I smelled the sagebrush and willows and fresh morning air.

I felt the bracing coolness left over from a desert night and the delicious warmth of the sun on my face.

I didn't taste anything (I was running, silly).

I was happy to be alive.

Then my lungs started burning.  (It is easier to run at sea level than at 5500 feet I have learned.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

OK, OK...I'm Warm

My feet are warm.  My sunglasses have been working overtime.  It's been in the 90s and so far no bones have cracked in the drastic temperature change.
Although some of my family members...the ones that soak up that Northwest weather like it's nectar of the gods...are a little too warm.

Mark was stunned by that bright ball in the sky.

What IS that?

One of the highlights so far of this trip was seeing my cousin Leslie last night.  I haven't seen her for years and I was delighted that our visits back to Nevada coincided (for once!).  She is beautiful and witty and kind with a good husband and charming children.  I loved seeing her, and meeting her charming children.  It is spectacular knowing Leslie is in the world and every time I see her I am happy.  We grew up together and slept at each others' houses and shared each others' secrets.  It's possible we could never run out of things to talk to each other about.

Too bad I don't see her more often.

In other news, my dad has shaved his mustache.  He'd had it for 41 years and it still startles me when I see him. 

(He's just as handsome without it.)

It sort of makes me happy that he shaved it, even though it has always been part of his identity.  My parents are preparing to serve a mission for our church.  The mission department wanted to see a picture of my dad without his mustache.  He shaved immediately.  That's my dad.  He knows what matters.  And that matters to me.

(But as you can see, I'm not mentioning it because my dad also doesn't want it to be a big deal...he should have thought about that before he had loud mouthed children, right?)



Sunday, July 24, 2011

And the Sun Shone All Day

Saturday was quite a day.  I didn't even take many pictures so you know I was quite immersed in the day.

We went to one of my favorite places in the world, my grandma's house.  It is familiar and wonderful and like Going Home Plus.  Many of my happiest childhood memories happened there, and with my dear grandma.  My grandma loves me in a pure and uncomplicated way and I love her back.  I still feel like a lucky girl when I get to be with her.  She had us sit in her very formal living room that was always forbidden when we were children.  (Sometimes my sisters and I could sit in there but never my brothers.)  Now, my grandma was having us sit there with our gangly and clumsy sons?  Then she offered them chocolates?!?  I think my grandma was trying to give me a heart attack.  Mark was sitting on a Queen Ann chair upholstered in a light brocade fabric.  I admonished him to stick the entire chocolate in his mouth at once.  He could hardly chew it his mouth was so full, but I was not going to be the mother of the boy who had sullied The Living Room. 

We visited my brother Ammon and his wife, Melanee, and their cuter than possible son, Cormac.  Having brothers is pretty great.  Having brothers that marry well and have terrific kids is even better.  We left our boys in their capable hands and headed to Provo to have dinner with a few of our college friends (that we met twenty years ago this summer!).

It doesn't seem like twenty years ago.

Adam and Robbie made Rachel laugh which made me laugh more.  We missed Erin.  There's nothing like old friends.  We caught each other up on our families and siblings.  We reminded each other of old stories.  We pieced together information we had about other friends we had in common.  It was one of those times when you are having so much fun together that you don't want to let it end.  Robbie invited us to see his baby kangaroo.

How can you say no to that kind of an offer?

We zipped back to Ammon and Melanee's for our boys and headed to Robbie's.  He and his wife and their seven(!) children live on a farm south of Utah Lake where they are caretakers.  Robbie is employed by a man with eclectic taste who has exotic animals.  Like kangaroos.

(And bison and water buffaloes and turkeys and boars and oryx and who knows what all...we took a sort of safari that was a little astounding for south of Utah Lake.)

Mark, the kangaroo, and Rach's cutie son, Luke


Mark has decided he wants a kangaroo.  We could build a nice little pen for it in our side yard according to him.

I would have loved to chat forever with our friends but Rachel and Nate had several hours to drive home and we had to get back to the Salt Lake airport for Emma!

Her plane arrived at midnight.  Adam and I, clutching our tickets that gave us claim to Emma Jayne (almost rhymes), stood at the top of the jetway, anxiously waiting.  It was a large flight full of weary travelers and she was the last one off the plane.  (If I were in charge of the world, I've decided my number one priority would be to have unaccompanied minors the first ones off the planes and into their impatient mother's arms.)

Emma was happy and tan and heavy laden with baggage which she gladly relinquished to Adam.  She chattered non-stop and insisted on showing us her souvenirs when we got back to our hotel.  She even bought some earrings with garish bright green feathers that hang below her shoulders. (Think Frenchie from The Voice.)

If you see her wearing them, you'll know that I've either died or have become completely incapacitated in some way.

She was astonished that I would feel that way about her lovely choice.

So good to have my girl back.

Friday, July 22, 2011

So Far

1.  I miss Emma.  It's weird to be the only girl.  The whole dynamic of the family is altered.

And boys are weird.


Really.


2.  It's hot.  But not in a bad way (yet...I may wilt yet).

Here's the outside temperature according to our van.


94 degrees.  Kind of blows your mind when you've been struggling to get to 70 degrees all summer.  (I guess we're still calling it summer.)

3. I've been reading The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  It makes me think.  I want Adam to read it so we can talk about it.  (We'll see how that goes...you know how people around here jump to read my book recommendations.)  It's all about how Chinese mothers are superior to Western slacker mothers.

Braeden bought this t-shirt today.

Hard work will pay off later...laziness pays off now.
Yes, Amy Chua.  I guess you have a point.

Maybe I should become Chinese and whip these kids into shape.

We went to Promontory Point to see where the transcontinental railroad was completed and on the way towards Salt Lake, we saw a new temple in Brigham City.  We were intrigued and had no real agenda so we got off the freeway.  The temple was under construction but looks beautiful.  It's right on Main Street which is wide enough to turn a wagon around on just like Brigham Young would have liked.



Across the street from the temple is the Brigham City Tabernacle which was built in the 1870s.  It is a fabulous building full of intricate wood carving and benches packed really closely together.  (People must have been tiny in the 1870s--or really uncomfortable all the time.)

source

 There was a nice couple in the tabernacle that Adam chatted with (I was busy trying to keep Mark somewhat calm).  Adam's conversation resulted in them agreeing to let Braeden play the organ.  Braeden sat down with a hymnbook and played a few hymns.  The organ pipes reverberated impressively and I thought again of Amy Chua.

My boy doesn't practice 4 hours a day with me yelling at him to play better.

But that's OK with me.

sorry...blurry picture
I am, after all, a Western mother.

And that's how we roll.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

For What Ails Me

Adam told me last night that this year we have had 76 minutes over 80 degrees.

I'll pause while you have a moment of silence for us...the sun deprived.  (It's currently 58 degrees and...wait for it...raining.) There's a dangerous heat wave in most of the country and we're refrigerated.  I wish I were in charge and could even things out.

There's a remedy for me though.

A lovely remedy.



We're shaking the dust of Seattle off (or the mold and mildew) and heading to my heartland.  I'm fondly anticipating seeing the sun and feeling its warmth (my sisters swear I'll be whining that I'm too hot by week's end...they're probably right).  I'm thrilled to be seeing my family.

And I am dying to be reunited with my girl.


Miss Emma is going to fly to Salt Lake City where we'll pick her up before heading to Nevada.

Complete bliss.

If my blogging is spotty in the next little while, you'll know why.  It's not you.  It's me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Harry Potter

I love Harry Potter.

I loved reading the books.

I loved the movies.

I love Neville Longbottom and Molly Weasley and Luna Lovegood.

I loved how dog-eared and falling apart our books are from much reading and rereading.

I love that I can ask my kids questions about the parts I forgot (they've been the rereading ones).

And I love this video.  It makes me laugh out loud. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Future Career Plans



Of course, you know my kids shun every book I recommend to them.

You also, I'm sure, know that this doesn't hurt my feelings.

Not in the least.

I have self esteem in spades; I'm not phased by narrow-minded, stubborn, free thinking children.  It really doesn't bother me. (OK, a little.)

Here's what does bother me:  Mark, who can read, won't.  And he doesn't like to be read to either.  I believe that if he would just get hooked on a book or series, he will become a reader.  And I want him to become a reader.  I just do. Last week, I told Mark that he had to go to the dentist with me when I took Braeden.  I could have easily left him to run wild with his friends but I realized that at the very boring dentist office waiting room, I would have a captive audience.  I would read to him.

He moaned and groaned about this.

I forged ahead.  I rallied Braeden to help me choose books to tempt Mark.  I arranged them on the floor in a line and told him he had to pick one for me to read to him.

"I have to?"

"Yes."

He picked The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan.  At the dentist office, I began reading.  He fidgeted and tapped his fingers and then toes then begged me to stop.  He wanted to go play with the blocks and dinosaurs in the corner of the office.  (I was not anticipating that...why can't dentist offices be more boring?)

I released Mark and he started using the blocks as asteroids to attack the dinosaurs (because when he does read, he reads Calvin and Hobbes...or Lego instructions).

Later, he said that he did want to have The Red Pyramid read to him, he just wanted his dad to read it to him instead of me.

Wow.  That makes it so much better.

Then, Mark had to give a talk on Sunday in primary.  Adam is usually the go to guy to help the kids with their talks.  He sort of interviews them on the topic to get them thinking and then, depending on how old they are, he'll either write down their responses or guide them to do the same.

Adam was gone so I helped Mark.

I asked him questions about his topic.  I wrote down his responses.  I brought up a few ideas.  He soundly dismissed them all.

After Adam got home, Mark worked on his talk with his dad.  Adam made the same suggestions I had made...practically word for word.  Mark readily agreed.

I don't want you to think this bothered me though.  Or that I even mentioned it.  I never try to make my kids feel guilty when they boost my morale in such stunning ways.  Not me.

Sunday night, I was heading to bed and Adam said that he was going to go downstairs and read.

"What are you reading?" I asked.

He gave me a little smile and said, "I don't know, some book about potato peels and societies..."

Ha ha.  Funny man.  I loved and adored The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and I thought Adam would too.  He, naturally, has not taken my suggestion.

Adam told me that I should try a new tactic.  Since I'm so brilliant at getting people to avoid my recommendations, I should advocate for things I dislike so they'll eventually be completely avoided by everyone.

I'll do what I can.

May I suggest corndogs?  They're lovely (bleck) and delicious (not really).  You should really eat them all the time (if you want to be sick).

In the future look for my recommendations on Starburst (even the smell makes me nauseous) and Skittles (ditto) and I will sing the praises of Walmart, my favorite store (to avoid).

What do you think?  Is it something I should try?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mark and Me Against the World



There will be several times this summer when Braeden and Emma are gone and Mark and I are on our own.  Friday was one of those days.

We went to the Children's Museum which Braeden and Emma have been too old for for a long time and Mark is very nearly too old for.

I cautioned him not to trample toddlers.  I explained how big and scary he is to them.  I described their limited ability to get out of his way.

I mostly wanted to avoid glares from their mothers pointed in my direction.

Oh, and I didn't want any toddlers trampled.  That too.

What I didn't prepare for was the the eventuality that Mark would spend 45 minutes in the plane.

45 minutes.



He flew to Chicago.  He orchestrated and then avoided a whole lot of turbulence.  He cautioned all the passengers to buckle their seatbelts.  He served food.  I sat on a bench outside the plane, berating myself for not bringing a book to read.  The last time we went to the Children's Museum, Mark was much younger and I needed to be more involved. 

Mark finally tired of the plane and was off and running (and more or less avoiding toddlers).  He ran up and down the treehouse steps five times just because he'd been sitting still for a long time and had energy to burn.  I trailed behind him.   He had me look in the periscope at the bottom of the treehouse while he looked in the one on the top.  We spoke to each other through a tube.  Later he commented about how we'd been on Skype together.  It's the same way he says to "pause" when he needs to interrupt or can text on my phone better than I can.  Weird.


In the early afternoon we headed to Leavenworth where Adam had been all week for training for work.  He had stayed at Sleeping Lady Resort which was beautiful.  I love going to eastern Washington.  It's dry there and has the same kinds of vegetation as Nevada.  These white flowers are all around my parents' house.  They're not particularly pretty or fragrant but they still make me happy.

I think that's a shadow on my foot...not leprosy.


Mark and I wandered a little while we were waiting for Adam to be done.  When we met up with him we went swimming.  On the drive there, Mark said, "I can't wait to go swimming!"  Poor kid.

He never gets a chance to swim.



After I finally dragged Adam and Mark out of the pool, we went to the fairly posh restaurant at the resort for dinner.  It was sort of wasted on Mark.  He didn't really like the food.  It's chef's choice and buffet style.  They had lamb chops and swordfish.  (I, of course, went for the swordfish...I don't like to eat anything cute.  Beef, yes. Veal, no.  Lamb, definitely no.)  Mark had some soup and lots of fresh berries and chocolate milk.  I gave him a bite of my extremely rich, extremely dark chocolate dessert and he swooned.  There's something very endearing about a little boy with tousled hair and grubby hands swooning over dark chocolate.

pictured here with creme brulee...when in doubt, have two desserts


Kind of makes you think that despite everything, you did something right as a mother.

The kid has good taste.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Productivity is Low

Hate this weather (cloudy, rainy, gray, 60s, not summer).

Hate that Adam's on a business trip.

Am missing Emma.

And finding solace in playing with Instagram on Pinkie Pie

and these two boys...







...and Mod Pizza.


they love feeding me and coincidentally, I love it when they feed me

Last night we went to open swim at the pool because 1) we can never spend too much time there and 2) it was cold and windy so why not go to an outdoor pool?  (I took a blanket.  Jill and I sat in chairs and complained about the weather and drooled over temperatures in other cities that we looked up on my phone.  Sad.)

We went because it was Braeden's first shift as a newly minted junior lifeguard.  To his chagrin, I thought he was adorable.  He was very earnest and serious about his job and he looked cute in his official uniform.  (I'm guessing a mother gushing over you diminishes your cool factor at 14.)  I was very restrained though.  Yes, I did snap a few pictures but they were very subtle.  It was just more material my children can use someday when they're in therapy and talking about how their mother damaged them in their tender years.

How cute is that kid?


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bon Voyage

There's a certain despondency associated with sending your daughter across the country without you.

I'm feeling it.

Last night at the library (a last minute stop to pick up Emma's book that she'd placed on hold which was fortuitously ready before her trip), she sat and read, Mark looked for a book to interest him, and I snapped pictures of Emma with my phone.


At first she was really very willing to comply.  She smiled nicely:


She smiled just a tiny bit impatiently:


Then she refused to look at me.  "I'm reading Mom."



I was undeterred though because Mark wasn't finding anything (and had predictably looked at my suggestions like he was dying of thirst and I'd handed him saltines) and I was bored with waiting.

And besides that, I'll miss her.

I feel like I should take the day off and mourn.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Jamming



Stephanie and I promised to teach Jill how to make jam, we just weren't sure when.  Then, yesterday at the pool, between watching laps swam by somewhat reluctant children (some of them don't like to get up early), we decided it was the day.

Jill and I headed north to the berry farm.  We picked up 45 pounds of sliced fresh strawberries and 2 flats of tayberries. (For Janet, who sadly couldn't join us but wanted strawberries all the same, we got 4 flats of strawberries as well).  Jill's SUV smelled great as we drove home.

We settled into her spacious kitchen with tools assembled, aprons donned and empty jars in a row.  Stephanie wasn't there yet when we started and it turned out that Jill, unfortunately, spent the entire day working steadily while Stephanie and I dashed in and out, taking children to dentist appointments and swim practice and who knows what all and then I had a hair appointment.

The problem with spontaneity is when you have other plans. 



Jill soldiered on and the end results were noble columns of jewel toned jam jars, she had to clean up her sticky kitchen by herself and she got a blister from a burst of molten strawberry jam.

(I think Jill maybe got the worst end of the deal.)

She did learn something valuable though:

Mormons have a lot of sugar on hand.

Stephanie and I lugged over our enormous containers of sugar and Jill said, "This is sugar you just have...at your house?"

She ought to see our flour, our salt, our dried beans.  Our wheat

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dangerous

I got a book from the library...


As I was trying out one of the recipes, I fantasized about trying out all of the recipes...except, of course, for the ones with alcohol.  They have a sort of "no" about them for the typical Mormon mothers of today.

I was thinking I could bake each cake and blog about it, a sort of Julie and Julia revisted...Thelma and Melissa?

Then I considered (see what I did there?) that if I systematically baked every cake in this book, I would systematically eat every cake in this book.  Oh, yes, I would.

I made the banana cake with chocolate frosting.  In the book (which reads like a novel if you ask me) she wrote that this recipe was adapted from a 70's Better Homes and Gardens cake recipe.

So I took pictures of the cake with my iphone instagram app with the "1977" filter.

my bundt cake frosting skills are sketchy


That's the kind of attention to detail you can expect from me.  When I make a 1970s cake, I'm going to take a 1970s picture.

When I tasted the cake, I determined that like everything else out of the 70s (it is when I was born), it was pretty spectacular.  Adam and children deemed it "a keeper" and I said perhaps the book was a keeper and I needed to make a cookbook purchase.

Then Adam, showing off, downloaded an app on Pinkie Pie called Price Check.  You can either take a photo of the front cover, scan the barcode with your phone or say the title of the book and the phone brings up the book on Amazon.com.  Wowee wow wow.  Except then I slipped my finger across the screen and the next thing I knew, it was confirming my purchase.

Wha?

"ADAM!?!"

I handed him the phone like it was poisonous and he assured me he could cancel the purchase.  I said, "Well, actually..." and I ended up purchasing the cookbook and 3 other books from Amazon that I was interested in as well.

I don't know which is more dangerous, cakes or Amazon.com.

Still.  Either way, what a way to go.

Monday, July 11, 2011

An Awfully Good One

I want to wrap Saturday up and put it in a pretty little box and pull it out to remember from time to time.  It was lovely.

First, the weather was perfect.  Perfect weather is always a good place to start.  Sunny days around here are like the first day you realize you're feeling great when you've been sick for...months.

We also had our first (and last for Braeden whose summer is escalatingly busy...I am pretty sure  escalatingly isn't a word but it really ought to be) swim meet.

It was thrilling!

For years we've watched our kids doggedly struggle along.  This year, Braeden and Emma at least, have seemed to come alive with their swimming.  They are not going to set any speed records but they shaved substantial time off their personal bests from last year.  I could not be happier.  It is exhilarating to watch your kids work hard and improve, no matter the outcome.

Mark is still in the doggedly struggling stage but that's OK too.

Especially when the sun is shining.

We took our hungry kids home and fed them such culinary delights as Bagel Bites and carrot sticks (don't be jealous) and Adam and I went out to lunch.

If I'm going to be married to someone forever, I'm glad it's Adam.

We chatted about how dazzled we were by our kids' progress.  We chatted about healthcare/national debt/education/politics.  We chatted about how dazzled we were by our shrimp tacos.

Then we went and bought our iphones.  Ever since there were iphones, Adam has been wanting an iphone.  But Adam is not a person to rush into a purchase.  He waits until the stars align and his current anemic phone won't hold a charge longer than 15 seconds (perhaps an exaggeration).

I felt giddy during the purchase.

"Will I be able to text?"

yes

"Will I be able to get...apps?"

yes

I got in a time machine and ended up in the present.

I need a lot of sleep like my dad does.  I hold sandwiches like my dad does.  And sometimes I name inanimate objects like my dad does.

Meet Pinkie Pie.

complete with a picture of my beloved on the lock screen

Even lovely days must have a downside and we went to Walmart next.  We needed to get our oil changed.  We sat in the garden center at a bistro table that was for sale and played with our phones.  I started texting everyone I could think of.

Just because I could.  Adam told me I was turning into an urban zombie.

Jill and Stephanie texted back, wondering if I wanted to take a walk.  When I confessed about the whole Walmart thing, Jill declared I deserved a treat after such hardship and Stephanie wondered who I was and what I had done with Thelma.

Maybe we all hate Walmart just a little bit.

When we got home I went to the open house for the brand new house across the street and critiqued it with Jill and Stephanie.  (I think the Realtor probably appreciated our input.)  Also, I tried to ignore the urchin children on our lawn who were selling Crystal Light for $1 per cup (Emma, Hannah and Paisley) and who were dressed up like a hobo and playing a guitar (Braeden).  He even had a sign that said "Anything helps."

I should have just stayed at Walmart.

Luckily no one really drives on our street.

Geri joined us for a summer dinner (frittata packed with fresh vegetables and then peach crisp).  I let Mark pick a game for us to play and he selected Creationary.  Pictionary with legos.  He's really good at it.  What he's not great at is knowing what the pictures are.

We made him do all the hardest cards and the rest of us did the very easiest cards.  For his first turn, he built a little spray can...complete with a projectile spray.  We guessed spray paint.  He said, "Close."  Someone said Pam cooking spray.  "Yes!"  Really?  We looked at the picture.  It was a thermos.  Mark didn't know what a thermos was.

Next he built a building and said I should be able to get it.  That clued me in that it was something we had studied in school.  There was a dome in the middle and he started adding towers at the corners.  "Hagia Sophia?"I guessed.

"Yes!"

It was really the Taj Mahal.

You can't have everything.

But sometimes you can have an awfully good day.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Inevitable

Just because something's universal doesn't make it easy.

When I was pregnant with Braeden I felt like an anomaly because I was so big and conspicuous.  One day it occurred to me that every single person on the earth comes into the world in the exact same way...with a pregnancy.  The mother likely feels awkward and pronounced.

(I still felt uncomfortable.)

As I think about the loosening that is motherhood, the slipping away and growing up of my children, I feel a hollowness that seems unique.  Then it occurs to me that every single person on the earth eventually leaves their mother.

I feel confused that something so life changing, this whole raising children thing that alters every aspect of life, is incredibly ordinary.

How do all these mothers survive?  First your baby is literally, not figuratively, part of you.  Then they live in a different state.

My children are all pointing in separate directions this summer.  Mark simply wants to be released to run with the pack of neighborhood boys.  Braeden is spending time at the pool first in training and soon in lifeguard volunteering.  He has scout camps.

And then there's Emma.  My girl who used to stay in her room, deep in a book, is on the move.

A week ago, her grandma Geri gave her an invitation:


Geri surprised Emma with a trip to Atlanta and Florida.  They're leaving next week.  Totally without my consent, Emma has become this sturdy independent girl that will fly across the country and have a marvelous time. 

She'll also go to her first Girls' Camp this summer.  For the first time she's going to be away on extended stays, independent of our immediate family, and I'm quite sure she'll handle it all just fine.

A few days ago, I heard chatter from our deck.  I looked out the window and Emma and Hannah and Paisley (Jill and Stephanie's daughters) were sitting on Adirondack chairs, their flip flop clad feet were propped up on a small table, long legs stretched out. They were munching on Popsicles and looking for all the world like quite grown up young ladies.

This growing up.  It's wonderful and terrible and startling all at once.

Mostly startling.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I Bet You Wish You Were Here Today


After several days of wonderful sunshine, we're back to clouds.

There's a cement mixer outside my house making a terrible racket (the only good thing this construction ever did for us was bring us Jill and her family).

After days of insomnia, I'm in a groggy, post-benadryl haze.

I feel like moving my furniture.

I have nothing interesting to write about.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Some Summer



Saturday was a banner day.  Long awaited.  Pined for.  Real, honest to goodness sunshiney summer.

I couldn't have been happier.

We went to an impromptu family reunion of sorts at Birch Bay.  There were aunts and uncles and cousins galore.  Marvelous.  And good food.

It was this sort of a day.


Mark running with his uncle Brian's dogs...he's loved these dogs since he was a toddler and they were puppies and knocked him over with regularity.
We searched the low tide and found all sorts of treasures--mostly clams and hermit crabs but also a jelly fish or two.

I spotted two big crabs.  I was hesitant to let them snap at my fingers but I wanted to take a closer look.  Adam was up at our picnic site so I did the next best thing, I called his brothers who were nearby.

They immediately set to work trying to catch the crabs.

With a dog leash.


You've got to admire their ingenuity.

At one point I told them it was like Deadliest Catch.

Brian said, "It's like stupidest catch," as they were both gingerly reaching for the crabs.


The crabs were brought to shore, inspected, and then sent back to tell all their friends about their wild adventure.


Grandma Geri supplied water balloons for a competitive water balloon toss.  (I would supply a picture but Adam and I were busy WINNING.)

We (and by we, I mean they, I sat this one out) also had a tug of war.  It was Whatcom County family members against Snohomish County family members...we had less people over the age of 60 but they had two pregnant women so it evened things out? 


Adam and our kids swam in the ocean and I languished in a camp chair, chatting with Adam's aunts and mom.

I don't fit in with my husband and offspring sometimes.

Speaking of incongruous, as we were packing up to leave, we heard a band playing a stirring rendition of Canada's national anthem in the nearby campground.  Yes, Canada was within our sight, and Canada Day was the previous day, but still.

Then they played "The Star Spangled Banner" and we all felt better.

The road took us through the campground on our way out of the state park and we saw the band.  It was about 40 people, all different ages, playing all different sorts of instruments.  They were playing a song we all recognized.

It was "White Christmas".

We didn't even pretend to understand.

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