Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Date night!

A few weeks ago my brother and his girlfriend asked what we were doing for Valentine's Day.  Not much, of course.  We thought back and we haven't gone "out" for Valentine's Day since we had kids.  Don't get my wrong, Lawrence has done some incredibly romantic things in the past few years.  Remember, a few years ago, he blogged?  It's just not usually worth the trouble and the expense to go out and be romantic.  

Anyway, Matt and Heather offered to watch the kids and encouraged us to go out, so we did.  And we started getting kind of excited about the idea, making reservations and all, you know, like a couple.  It was fun.  We recently paid off our truck and I got promoted to Controller at work, so why not go out and spurge a little to reward, celebrate, and love ourselves.

THANKS MATT AND HEATHER!!  Or as Bryson says, "Header", or as Addie says, "Heth-oe"

I found myself giddy all week looking forward to being taken out on a proper date.  I even bought a new dress.  
Lily wants me to say that the photo is courtesy of Lily, so you can all be properly impressed

I took the day off of work to go to the dermatologist (first time ever, thank you ShanRae for encourage me to make sure I'm healthy!) in the morning, and to attend Lily's Valentine's Day party and help out at school.  It was awesome to help the kids decorate their cupcakes and pass out Valentines.  My favorite part was listening to each of them shout out "Thank You, Lily", "Thank You, Kaden", "Thank You, Claire", "Thank You, George" as they pulled each one out of their penguin shaped mailboxes.  So sweet, so loving, so full of gratitude, just like Valentine's Day should be when you are 7.
Lily lost her 4th tooth just after the party was over, with (ahem) a little help from me.  It was dangling by a thread (see above-front tooth protruding) and she was making her teacher and I shudder with every smile and wiggle.  Plus she really wanted to loose it at school.  Because at school you get a treasure box, and you get to invite a friend to the office to go get said treasure box, and all around you definitely get your 15 minutes of fame.  

Anyway, another good day.  Another good blog.  My blahs from this time last year feel truly lifted, and I want to write about our life again.  It doesn't mean things are busy and overwhelming, they are, but as I'm sure you can tell by the tone in my words, I can fight through it again.  The changes I'm making to my diet, to my decisions, to my time management, to my priorities, they are all helping in making this a more joy filled life.  Who could ask for more than that?  

The tooth fairy left a Littlest Pet Shop and a Valentine Cookie Cutter, in lieu of cash.  I got Lawrence a brownie pan that is all corners that he has been wanting along with some itunes cash.  Lawrence got me a wine decanter, something I declared I wanted since using a friend's for NYE but never would have bought on my own.  And then of course a date night.  Filled with conversation and laughing and thoughtfulness.  And getting in bed by 10.  

I know Valentine's is all commercialized and there are  haters, boy are there haters.  I remember my single days of jealousy and bitterness.  Wanting a rose or a frosted cookie to be delivered or a Vermont teddy bear.  Wanting my name to be called over the intercom.  Now, I don't really care about it.  We always get books for the kids.  We always get a million pieces of precious homemade riff raff from them.  There is always a good meal provided by my amazing man.  And those heart shaped cutters always come into use one way or another.  My home is filled with love, but it's okay with me that there is a commercialized holiday in the middle of the week that gives us an extra excuse and an extra reminder to document it, express it, and some extra encouragement to get out on a date and show it.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again

Lately I've been surfing on what seems to be a waves of gratitude and sinking in my overwhelming schedule and responsibilities.  The blessings come crashing over me and I couldn't feel more blessed, and then a panic sets in when I look at my to do list, both for work and home, all it takes is someone to ask one small thing of me, and I feel like I'm barely treading water.  

I've sort of shut everyone out for the past 2 weeks, except for my family.  And while I have a tinge of guilt from the emails unanswered and the phone calls not made.  I remember that this is what I need to do in this season to feel good about me.  To feel like a...success in my life.  Today, I'm really feeling the effects of choosing to spend my weekends completely family centered, even if that means doing laundry after bedtime and taking kids grocery shopping and letting the guest bed not get unpiled with stuff.  The to do list will never end but having a good time with my little people gives me what I need. 

Bryson told me this weekend I was his best friend.  "um, like, you my bes fwend" I.could.have.died.  It was so sweet.  (And yes, for the record, sometimes he does sort of talk like a valley girl).

I wrote a few posts ago about Patsy Clairmont's, 1-2-3, say yes, no, and thank you.  I talked about saying no to the things that drain you, that aren't good for your soul.  But I realize this applies to me even for the people who are good for my soul.  Because I just have to build some walls to protect the limited time I have to be a mother, and to get good sleep, and to eat well, and to do this very demanding job (I got a promotion, by the way, woohoo!).  When a friend asks me to do something, it's not that I don't want to, I want to, but I want to spend time with my kids more.  I want to feel less stressed about taking them to their various doctor and dentist appointments, I want to spend my "free" time going to their Valentine's party at school, or watching them to Karate on a Saturday morning.  I want to spend my Saturday afternoon during nap time making homemade Valentine's with my little craft loving girls.  

Coffee dates with my friends are great, but they pull me from the area I am being called.  I am being called to nurture my friendship at home with the man who married me, and I am being called to do as many of the doting details that I can as a mom, even as a working mom.  My nights and weekends are my treasured time with them.  I strive to make my work at home days as efficient as I can, so that I can keep them, so that I can be with my family when the clock strikes 5.  It comes at a cost to my personal relationships outside of the home, and I do get that those are important.  But the ones that matter, they won't mind a bit.  

So sorry, rest of the world, I still love you, I just don't have time for all of the people who are important to me.  I called my mom last night, and I probably haven't called her in 2 weeks.  Oops.  I don't mean for it to be so long, time just goes fast and there isn't a good time to talk, sometimes for weeks at a time.  I loved, LOVED how when I apologized to her, she is so forgiving, she has this way of never ever making me feel guilty for my shortcomings (man, I wish I could say the same of myself).  She's so great.  But, I'm getting away from the point.

The point is, today, I did a little thing, I signed up to make sandwiches for Addie's Valentine's Day party for school.  I signed up for the hardest thing (well, other than jello squares) on the list because Addie is allergic to peanuts, so this way I could ensure I was using Almond Butter that was 100% peanut free.  I could have just made little sandwiches in squares, but I took an extra 10 minutes and made them into hearts instead.  

And you know what, I felt good about it as I placed them into the tupperware, I felt good as we rushed out the door to get to school on time, I felt good about it when I handed them to the teacher, and I still felt good about it when I walked into my office.  And all I did was make some little sandwiches.  I don't deserve any sort of medal for doing a normal mom thing.  Yet the waves of gratitude that rolled over me all morning were big and meaningful.  I'm not exactly sure what it is about putting a homemakery touch on something that the kids will probably just pass over for the cookie and jello on their plate that gave me such...pride, but I liked it.  And I want to do it again.  More of that.  More fully feeling my little successes.  More rejoicing about them.  I feel so silly about how many times I've smiled today about those darn little heart shaped AB&Js.   

This forced smile makes me LOL every time
Addie beamed as she showed them to her teacher when we got to school, and even though nobody was looking, over in the corner her mommy beamed too.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Piglet's friend of the week

My Addie
Addie's favorite color is blue
She likes Lighting McQueen, Littlest Pet Shop, and Hello Kitty
She had won 2 medals for charity races she's done with dad
Addie is a self-proclaimed "puzzler"
Addie's favorite teams are University of Montana and Ohio State
Addie learned to ski last year, and just got her own blue helmet and blue goggles
Addie likes to snow shoe and cross country ski - she blows everyone away because she has to take twice the steps as everyone else
Her favorite activity is running
She want's to be a race car driver when she grows up
Her best friend is Bear - Bear
She and daddy call each other "buds"
Lily made Addie a "Star of the week" star for Addie to wear for Christmas
Addie's last birthday theme was Handy Manny
Addie just started Karate last month and LOVES it

Addie is my sweet, small, feisty, athletic, beautiful, helpful, wonderful blue eyed girl.  She is also Piglet's friend of the week at school.  So she's a pretty big deal.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Still high off Saturdays endorphins

 As Promised, here are some more pictures from our fabulous cross country ski trip from Saturday.

All photo credit goes to Joel Vermillion.  Even though he smudged his lens while trying to to fix my binding at the start of the day, I don't notice smudges at all.  I was so glad he had this fantastic camera and captured so much of our family's wonderful day.

That's me on the left with Bryson peeking over my back, Lawrence and Addie are the 2 farthest to the right

He kept asking for a snow cookie.  A snow cookie, for those who don't know is a ball of snow which can be eaten.  Notice my hood is lifted so snow cookie only melts on my clothed back, and doesn't get down on to bare skin.  Thank you, self, for wearing a hooded shirt that day.

THE most amazing trooper

I want to frame everyone of these pictures.  Isn't the mountain breathtaking?

I'm free I'm free I'm free, and oh so happy about it
Oh wow, it's like a Disney movie, how amazing a bird just landed on his snow covered hand
Oh ACK, the bird is starting to peck through my gloves.  This look on his face is so priceless.  I could laugh a million times over about it.  
I just can't imagine anything more beautiful than this (unless of course her brother and sister we standing next to her in this photo and everyone was looking!)

The smile on my face was not for the camera

Lily was skiing off with the faster group, so missing from the amazing photo.  Good thing we have about a hundred thousand family photos with ONLY her in them before Addie was born to compensate.  

This girl never seizes to amazing me.  I love you, Lily!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.

Today was an absolutely amazing day in every way.  We went to Mount Hood and rented cross country skis with a group from Meadowsprings.  It was fabulous.  The girls both worked so hard, I was so proud of them and Bryson did pretty well on my back most of the day.  Lawrence, Addie, Bryson, & I only went about 3.5 miles (the slow group), but Lily begged to go with the "fast" group after lunch, and we let her, they did another 4.5 mile loop while we did about additional 2 miles.  4.5 hard miles.  Addie was confident and determined too, when you look at her short little strides, she has to do triple the work as the rest of us and she really blew us away.  She didn't complain once and just kept going.  Oh, they were such fun to watch.  And I got plenty of alone time talking and singing with Bryson on my back.  He told me "I am getting a really fun piggy back ride".  Lawrence stuck with Addie who was the slowest in our group, slow and steady.  

Every time I looked at Lawrence today he had a huge smile on his face and it just filled me up in more ways than I can describe.  

There will be some more great pictures from this day, but I wanted to post a little something about this wonderful day today.  For all the days I whine and complain about the challenges of this life, I wanted to write while I am fresh in the emotion of having a heart that wants to burst with GLADNESS.

I felt so ALIVE, full of energy, present, and engaged with my family.  We all meshed together in a way that is rare and made hard and stressful circumstances...enjoyable and fun.  

I will go to sleep a very happy girl in a house full of two more happy girls and also two happy boys.  

WOW.  It was just one of those days that made me say, This is what life is all about.  I haven't had a WOW day in a while, and it's easy to feel the difference because it is THAT much better than the regular days.  

Psalm 121

 1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
   where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
   the Maker of heaven and earth.