Thursday, May 31, 2012

stream of consciousness from the cul de sac

on monday we went to the cul de sac a few blocks from our house.  just us girls.  dad and bryson took a bath while we got the bikes and helmets out after dinner.  they promised me that they were okay with only the half an hour we had to ride.  i carried addie's bike down our steep hill and lily pushed her own. when we got to the cul de sac they rode around.  addie hasn't ridden much after advancing from trike to training wheels, so she was getting used to pushing forward on the pedals to go and pushing backward on the pedals to stop.  every so often she would push backward on accident and lurch to an unexpected stop.  i sat in the sun on the curb marveling at them.  blessings.  they started riding laps around the circle and asking me to count.  addie's laps were much smaller as she attempted to catch up to lily's count.  lily slowed and let her.  they cheered around lap 25 when they were together.  they lapped together until 50.  they celebrated my undivided attention.  i had no where to be and nothing to do but count those laps.  addie kept going in her little circles until lap 70.  she'd smile with accomplishment as she passed me each time, working hard to make those little circles, looking at me with eyebrows raised and a smile, like 'mama, you got that one?'  

a girl from lily's kindergarten class appeared on the sidewalk with another girl, holding hands.  this girl rides the bus with lily and was her first friend last year when they started kindergarten.  she said hi to lily and lily said hi.  every lap lily made around with her little sister, i watched her linger watching the kids her age play.  i heard them talking about telling their dad on a boy who was running around with them.  lily looked on curiously.  i asked her if she wished she could play with them.  she said they didn't seem interested.  in playing with her, that is.  i winced.  the hint of rejection for my little girl.  she said they were telling on someone but she didn't know who.  then she kept riding and looking and lingering, but she asked me to stop counting her laps.  she gave addie some tips on getting going when the pedals aren't in the right place, when you want to start without putting your feet on the ground.  i smiled at her helpfulness toward her little sister.  her little sister grimaced and rode away with a sharp 'i know how, lily'.  even though she didn't.   

i gave the girls their 10 minute warning, and 10 minutes later i gave a 5 minute warning, and i knew we really needed to get home for much needed showers, so about 30 minutes after the first warning, i was reluctantly standing back up and we were circling to go.  we decided to ride home another longer way that wasn't so steep.  a way that they could ride their bikes most of the way, but it isn't totally flat.  lily circles the cul de sac over and over to get momentum up.  i pushed addie ahead and she pedaled hard.  lily caught up to us at the corner.  i told her to keep going, but to stop at the stop sign.  she was able to ride all the way to the stop sign, a few more blocks up a slight hill, she stopped as instructed, and when we caught up with her, she was mad that she had to stop.  that her momentum was gone.  i gave her a mini- lecture about safety and we crossed the intersections after several cars had passed.  lily rode hard until the bottom of our hill, about 2 blocks from our house and then got off her bike and laid next to it on the sidewalk and started to cry.  she was mad that i took all of her momentum away.  mad that i made her stop because addie was too slow.  mad that i don't think she can do it on her own.  and probably mad that she wasn't playing in the cul de sac with the girls her own age rather than riding home and waiting for her unappreciative sister.  i offered to carry her bike up the hill but she didn't want that.  that wasn't the point.  she wanted to ride up the hill and i had ruined everything, she repeatedly screamed from behind me.  you ruined it for me.  i kept walking and praised addie for working so hard and doing so well on her bike.  lily cried some more from behind.  i kept my patience, but she was really ruining it for me, what was just a lovely hour for the three of us.  all for an impossible to ride up hill, anyway.

or was that really it?

it got me to thinking.  of how the things we act mad about aren't usually the things we are really mad about.  of how we take out our frustrations on the the person right in front of us, the one we love the most, the one who loves us the most, the one with whom we can get away with it.  our safe place.  and sometimes we ruin things for our safe person, why do we do that?  she was really just mad because going home meant the end to a wonderful, long three day weekend.  a weekend of playing outside for every day-lit minute.  a weekend of ocean waves and kites and sand and mud and grass stains.  a weekend with little discipline and very relaxed parents.  it meant up too early for school tomorrow and mom and dad back to work.  that ride home meant the start of the dreaded week of rush rush rush.  she wasn't mad at me for stopping her at the stop sign.  she was sad that the end of the day and the end of the weekend had come.  

and so was i.  
but i was grateful to go to a place of understanding and sympathy for her little seven-year-old heart, rather than get angry at her tantrum.  later that night i had a little tantrum of my own.  one that didn't have anything to do with what i cried about.  

we aren't so different, lily and i. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Little Land Cafe

Today I went to the most darling little cafe for coffee and I just had to blog about it, lest I forget the little moments in the midst of the big ones.  I told the owner I'd be taking a few pictures and doing an article to help promote her up and coming little business.  

 I was the first one in the cafe, it had just opened yesterday.  The owner had some "one tops" available but thought I might rather not sit on the floor, so I got a "two top".
 The menu consisted of apple joos, crusxint roll, pizza, cophey, ornge, musterd, coocees, green bens, ice creem, hot dog, cake, green pepers, plum slise, carits, apple, bred, bnana
 I sat at table #1 as you can see above.  I ordered a plum slice, green beans, coffee, and musturd.  It turned out they didn't have green beans, but I found the replacement package of frozen peas and a nice little dish to put them in more than acceptable. Also, I preferred the eggplant I got to the plum slice I ordered.  
 The owner, Lily Herman, really took her job seriously.  She was organized, efficient, and pleasant to be around.  She made small talk while whizzing around her kitchen.  It is cozy, but she seems to have it all.  I should know, she offered it to me and explained it all in detail.  She is patriotic with a flag hung for Memorial Day and whatnot.  
 There is a nice little take out window where you go to get seated, and that H stands for Happy Hour.  That means it is 50% off and kids toys are available.  You can even take them back to your table.  I was sorry I didn't bring the kids.  
After my meal, she brought me in the back to show me her system.    She is going to do tours for people who want them as she gets up and running.  She keeps things fair by bringing the food out to people in the order that they came in to the cafe.  So if you order first, you get your food first, plain as that.  She has a system of writing the table number down on the sticky notes so that she knows who is first, who is second, and so on.

 I was in during happy hour, so I got 50% off of my meal.  $2.50 >> $1.50.  I was going to say that math was this little lady's strong suit, rather than her spelling.  Clearly it is both. The little box is where I leave my money or credit card.  She dots her 'i's" with a heart.  Nice. Touch.  
 She talked extensively of a brother and sister that worked with her at the cafe.  They don't own it with her, they just work there, helping her out.  The sister, Addie Herman, showed up just as I was about to finish, and performed some nature magic.  Green helicopters stick to your nose if you peel the base apart just right.
See?  Side view of the helicopter trick.  Incredible, so much talent.  I never saw the brother, but I'm sure he'd add even more value to this family operation.  
These sisters are going to have some serious success in the restaurant biz, or in whatever they do.  No one has this much heart, planning, and sheer bossiness organized re-creation of things they've seen.  They are desperate for more customers, so please, I encourage you, stop by and check them out.  

Here is a short video I took of the owner explaining her Happy Hour idea as well as the music, mood, and how she got the idea for the name.  She really speaks from the heart.  Enjoy:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Week of Addie

It seems like the kids go through cycles getting a lot of focus, and this week it was finally Addie's turn to be in the spotlight.  And boy was she!

Last Friday we had a program at her school. She told us she was going to be the loudest to make sure we could hear her if we sat way in the back.  She was not kidding! She sang loud and enunciated and smiled and made some of the funniest faces I had seen in a while.  Here are a few examples.  If you can't turn up the sound because you are at work, that's don't need sound to get how funny this is. 
This is my quiet, reserved, sensitive middle child, singing with 47 other kids, and you could hear her the loudest.  In fact, she been getting louder in many aspects of her life.  I look at her and I sense that she's struggling to find her voice in many forms.  Unfortunately it seems like she finds it sounding like a 2.5 year old whining baby, rather than an almost-five-year-old big girl.  Her voice in general still sounds very baby like, the squeakiness, the pronunciation, the shyness.  Not in a way that worries me about her speech, just in a way that shows me she isn't confident yet in her voice.  Not like Lily was at this age.  The voice that helps her to know where she fits in, both in our family and in the world.  She's strong willed and sweet and stubborn.  She doesn't people please, but loves to be the biggest helper you've ever had.  Man, and I always said I was going to have a middle child who didn't act like a middle child, who had not "middle-child issues".  You know, because I am above those stereotypes. Heh.  I really should stop 'always' saying things.  Well, she acts exactly like an in the middle middle child.  I think that's hard.  It's hard being the oldest, and it's hard being the baby, but both of those roles have such perks.  Not many perks to being the middle child.  Perhaps that is why God made her so strikingly beautiful and small enough to put in your pocket.  Her place is deep in the hearts of many who love her.

She is tucked so deep in my heart.  My heart jumps looking at these two girls loving each other.  

We let Lily get out of school for a few hours to come to the performance.  And they were both so excited that Lily was there.  Bryson was there too, no picture, but I'll give him credit for some of the shakey video work, even though it's probably not his fault.  

Saturday, Addie got to go to a birthday party for a friend who she's known since she was 3 weeks old!  It was so sweet to see the little group of 5 or almost 5 year olds running around in a little pack, getting sweaty doing all there is to do at Out of This World Pizza.  
Ryan, Benjamin, Nathan, Hope, Jaden, and Addie - Yes, that tall boy is in her class!

Addie had a great time, and we had a wonderful 45 minute drive each way to get to the party, talking and laughing.  On the way home from the party, we had a special conversation and I even pulled over so we could say a prayer together.  More special than I can explain.
Bear Bear Tea Party

Yesterday was more Addie and Mama time.  
It was her last field trip at school.  I thought that I wouldn't be able to go because it was in May and I just have to cross all fun things in May off my list.  Or do I? It happened that I was not feeling well on Monday, and somehow the auditors got along without me.  I worked hard with them on Tuesday and realized they could do without me in the morning if I snuck away with Addie before their afternoon seminar.  So I did, and it was drizzly, a little rainy, and awesome.  Just the two of us for most of the morning, meeting up with the class and our friends at different check points.  

Middle children UNITE - Here is Addie and her friend Benjamin getting a picture in front of her FAVORITE animal!  Can't you tell?

Okay, so that's that.  A week of Addie.  Now I can go off and make Memorial Day weekend memories with this amazing family (and my mom and brother) and I didn't let this wonderful week with my wonderful middle girl get lost in the shuffle.  

Yay for things not getting lost in the shuffle.  Especially Addie.  

I love you Addie!

Focus on today and make it a great one my friends! 

Today's verse: 
Matthew 6:
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Living vicariously through text messages

As I mentioned before.  Mother's Day weekend was awesome and full.

But since then it has been all work and no play.  Since then = 4 days.  Is. That. It. !!??

My in-laws got here from New Jersey long after we were asleep Sunday, and I'm working so much that I'm just tapped out in the evenings.  The hours aren't as bad as they were last year, but the nonstop intensity of thinking during the day...I'm DONE by the end of the day.  Going into the office every day, no work from home days, earlier mornings, and later nights.  I'm so ready for it to be over.

The good news is, I am almost there.  They auditors will be in house less than another week, shorter than expected.  Things are going good, we are getting there.  I'm still waking up earlier than everyone for some quiet time, eating well, and feeling really good mentally.

I'm thankful for these beautiful text messages.

For now, I'm living life vicariously thought texts from my nanny and their grandma, who get to spend the fun part of their day with them.  I love the thoughtfulness of getting to see what their day looks like, even though a text message.  Today's text from NannyJenny said "Your audit is over half way over!  WOOHOO!" and it made me smile.

You know what else makes me smile?  Today is our Sabine's bday.  Happy Birthday Bean Bean.  We love you!!!  Today Lily said, I wish I could just walk to Germany to see her.  :)  Me too, Lil, me too!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


As long as I can remember, my mom and all her sisters called my Grandma "Mama".  And they called my Grandpa "Daddy".  They always talked about their parents with such respect and such love.  "Mama and Daddy".  Even when the "kids" were 50.  Even when they are 60.  They probably always will.  
Mama and Daddy

My kids call me Mama.  I love it.  It has this sweet, innocent, loving ring to it.  A ring that says I'm not too grown up to still say my first word.  Lots of kids I know Lily's age, and a few Addie's age call their moms Mom or Mommy, and that's to be expected, the kids are growing up.  

For now, I'm still Mama, and I hope I stay Mama for a very long time.  For years after I'm gone, even.  Just like my Grandma who has been gone nearly 10 years gets to still be Mama.  

I know a day will come when they don't love me as unconditionally and as fully as they do now.  But I also know, that after that season passes, they will come back to love me so fully again, with a grown up and knowing heart.  Just like I love my mom.  

I just hope that when that time comes and for all the times in between, they still call me Mama.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sweaty Stinky Suessical Sensational Mother's Day Weekend

 Does anyone else have a dirty house and loads of stinky laundry and an empty fridge and sunscreen residue on the kiddos and bags under your eyes and sore feet that desperately need a pedicure?  Anyone?  Just me?  Proof that you didn't do any of the things that you *should* have done and instead only the things you *wanted* to do.  I seemed to have done none of the weekend chores and only busied myself with the fun stuff of this life!   Relaxation was not on the menu for this Mother's Day weekend, but that is totally okay with me.  I did get a nap on Saturday and Sunday, and that made all the running and stinking worth it.  

Friday night the girls took me to Suessical performed by Tigard High School.  It was awesome, amazing that this was a high school production, there was a lot of talent, and the show was great.  My friend's daughter was in the cast, so it was fun to watch her and I got a picture of Lily with her after the show.  My friend wasn't at the performance so she was thrilled to get a cute picture of our girls.  Several people commented on how well behaved my daughters were during the show (any mama knows this is a Mother's Day gift in and of itself! Who? My kids? Angels?  Obviously an indication of the kind of mother I am? Oh, go ON!).  And they were.  Lily even kept the talking and questions to a minimum.  It didn't get out until around 9:30, so they were beat.  Addie was too tired to get pictures with the cast, but Lily could have stayed an extra hour if I would have let her! 

Horton and Gertrude
Kangaroo and Monkeys
Lily and Blondie
Lily and the Who's

Proof that it wasn't the Lily show
Cat in the hat signing her program

Happy tired girls
  The next morning I was up bright and early to get everything ready for the AIM walk for Melanoma with my friend ShanRae, who drove into town from Bend.  Lily had a baseball game, so I took the two little ones and Lawrence and Lily went to her game.  We had to be out the door at 7:30am (or so I thought, turns out we were about an hour early).  So after water bottles and sunscreen and sun hats and stoller and booster seat and Ergo Carrier were loaded into the car, we woke up Addie and she was ready to go.  I thought she might need to get carried part of the 5K but not only did she walk the entire 3.14 miles, she ran most of it.  It was a great course through some beautiful SE Portland neighborhoods, and we had a great time.  ShanRae's mom and sister came from Joseph, so the 6 of us walked together and got to talk and catch up.  It was a small walk.  Which shows the need for more Melanoma awareness and fundraising, but it raised $12K, pretty good, especially for the size.  I'll do another post on Melanoma.  I was shocked as I learned even more about this terrible and fast growing disease, and how early prevention really is the ONLY remedy.  Either you get it at the source, or you die from it, essentially.  Once it spreads it is basically untreatable.  Which is why education is so important.  Why annual screenings and self checks are so important.   I was proud to walk next to my childhood best friend in her lavender survivor shirt.  I was proud of how she is turning this crappy experience into a positive, and I am so grateful that our path's and friendships have strengthened again through this so she was able to be such a support for me and the cancer that I had.  Listening to the Melanoma stories, I was so grateful that it was not the kind of skin cancer I had, and I realized once again, just how lucky I was.  I am.  After the race we had a nice lunch, the complimented my kids (who we playing with knives by the end of the meal - buying me a few more talking minutes with my friend) behavior.  Ha!  Again, go ON! :)   

Lily did great at her game on Saturday, then she and Lawrence went for a bike ride down to the water feature near New Seasons at the bottom of our hill.  I got home, and put all three of my crew promptly down for a nap.  Including myself.  Awwww yeah.  Addie didn't nap though, crazy girl who just ran 3 miles!  Lawrence ran out to get some steak for grilling, while I had a water balloon fight with my kids.  At the store, he saw our friends the Powers, who were also getting some grilling goods.  He came back with the whole crowd and we had an impromptu dinner with some of our favorite friends.  Yay.  Addie's meltdown came fast and furious an hour after bedtime, so that lead to the split of our dinner.  We were expecting it much earlier, late night last night, early morning today, no nap.  In true tired Addie form I laid down with her and she went from screaming bloodie murder to wimper to asleep in about 5 minutes.  I hate to see her like that, but when she is so tired, I love how it feels to easy that little sweetie to sleep in my arms.  

Not only do I get to be a mom to three wonderful kids, I got to learn how to be a loving mom from the very best!  Thanks Mom!!
Family photo

Addie and Daddy
Addie on the left
Lily (and my friend's son, Stuart) finishing strong

Addie at the finish

This was after 3 miles in the sun and my little people were cheering SO hard for me. So hard not to smile SO big!
Up and at 'em even earlier today.  The sun was shining, and we'd mostly planned ahead so getting out the door by 7 went by with out much frazzle on my part.  True accomplishment, I'll admit!  Lily's tummy was hurting so she was complaining a little, but we got down with only 15 minutes until her race, so she seemed to forget about it.  Lawrence ran with the girls for their one mile run, toward the back.  Lily started with them, but weaved her way closer to the front.  Overall she finished 8th and Addie finished 26th out of 64 total in the race.  They ran so fast and didn't walk at all, I was so proud of them.  Lily was 1st in her age division out of 14 and she was 2nd overall out of 36 girls.  Her time was 9:52.  Faster than I can do a mile! :)  Addie was 6/20 in her age division that went up to 6 year olds.  She ran her mile in 12:09, that's more my pace.  She was a little disappointed not to get a medal after getting one last year, but I reminded her that she ran FOUR miles this weekend, and that was farther than any FOUR year old I know. :)  I got my personal worst time for running a 5K but I could care less about that.  I got like 226th place or something awesome like that.  I didn't get a medal.  :)  I felt good (unlike my last 5K), ran the whole thing in the sunshine with beautiful music blasting in my headphones, I wasn't in it for the speed (says she who was not speedy).  

One tired Addie
One HAPPY Lily

I got some great Mother's Day gifts from the kids, including a World's Best Mom mug, a new camping chair, a frilly cute polka dot apron, a song written and performed by Lily, back up by Addie, a cook book from Addie made at school, a plate Lily made at school.  100 pieces of riff raff crafts with Lightning McQueen stamps and crayons and projects obviously colored by my nanny and popsicle sticks with balloon stickers on them and scribbles and  I also bought myself a new sun hat for the summer.  We took another awesome nap after a really yummy lunch, and then played outside, BBQed again, and just soaked in more time together.  The day ended, in true Mother (of-small-children)'s day form, 2/3 kids pooped their pants swimsuits while playing outside, and in even truer Mother's day form, daddy cleaned it up while I quickly bathed 3/3 kids.

Last night I was sweaty and stinky with dirty feet and dirty fingernails, my face and arms were sun-kissed - and I was layered with many applications of greasy sunscreen, my eyes and feet were so tired.  I did a quick surface level clean up, after all my parents-in-law were to arrive late night and there was STUFF everywhere, but it was no where near what it would have been if we didn't thoroughly enjoy every minute of the weekend.
I showered and fell into bed on the sheets that I meant to change today.  I was asleep in just a few minutes, but the mess and the long to do list left untouched reminded me that without a shadow of a doubt, we did this Mother's day riiii....

(fell asleep before I could finish the though, even further proof that is was true)