Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 Week 5: Jan 29-Feb 4

Jan 29: Doing homework, fascinated by the candle. 

Feb 1: Miss E and her bestie. These girls went to school only for K and 1st grade and in K they weren't really friends. After 1st grade her friend moved to a different school and I thought the friendship might peter out. Boy was I wrong! These girls are like sisters. They want to play nearly every weekend, they take gymnastics together and, now that they both have iPods, they message and FaceTime each other. It's been so great to see Miss E make new friendships at her school and continue this one. In middle school the girls will go to the same school again and I'm hoping their friendship just continues to grow. 
Feb 2: Migraine Sunday. Spent the day being miserable (with a cat on my lap) and watching the kids play Mario Kart. One of the great things about getting video games from the library is that I don't have to worry about the kids binge playing them or setting limits or anything. We have a week or so to play as much as we want and then back to the library they go.  

Feb 3: New dog bed. If you can believe it she had to be coaxed onto this bed. COAXED. Apparently, she has taken to it though. 

Feb. 4: Surgery waiting room. Today is what while hopefully be my mom's last surgery (her 4th in a year) and this is a BIG one. Maybe bigger than any of the others. I'm nervous and we spent a very long time waiting here for her. I kept sneaking peeks at everyone else in here wondering who they were waiting for and what surgery their loved ones was having. Some people were tense and worried, some were happy and chatty, the girl next to me had cupcakes  - cupcakes! I spent a good hour or so trying to figure out what type of surgery would be celebrated with cupcakes and if they were going to stand around the person who had it done and eat the cupcakes (because I'm pretty sure you can't have cupcakes as you come out of anesthesia), or if they were going to eat them someplace else in the hospital? I don't know. It seemed weird to me, but was a good distraction. 

2014 Week 4: Jan 22-28

Jan 22: A month or so ago I was tasked with redecorating the waiting room of our office. Then management changed, Christmas happened and I thought the project was scrapped. Until this week, when I was told to finish it by the end of the week. Spent all day shopping and trying to put something good looking together on a shoestring budget. 
Jan 23: Done! Furniture set up and put together. Office waiting room done and I've fallen in love with this yoga frog. 
Jan 24: A rare day of sun in January! Mr. T was tree climbing in his Jedi robe - of course. 

Jan 25: Miss E went to a friend's birthday party at a farm. There were horses involved. 
Jan 26: New contraption: cat leash/lasso. He is the world's most tolerant cat but was unamused. 

Jan 27: Sitting next to him reading our books at night I think I'll never tire of looking at the curve of his neck, his eye lashes, his cheeks and his ears. This mama love is so incredibly overwhelming and whole. 

Jan 28: Boy scouts Pinewood derby! Mr. T just joined and this was his first big troop event. His car took 11th out of 50 and he was so so proud. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

2014 Week 3: Jan 15-21

Jan 16: Peter's drink shelf. You know those things that your spouse does that kind of drive you crazy but not really because it's their house too and you can't be too picky? This. Frequently I will get up to fix breakfast on a day Peter works and look up at the kitchen window to see his drinks from the day before sitting there. 

Jan 18: We haven't been on a vacation in awhile and as a family we REALLY needed to get away. Over MLK weekend we headed to Seattle to stay with some friends and do some tourist things. The first night we stayed with our friends who live a little outside Seattle. They are out of the city and have a house where the kids can run free through a forest and through all the neighbors yards only coming in a dinner time. Kind of like the childhood our parents had. We went on a little hike with them too, I like to call this shot "Dad Life".

Jan 19: Said goodbye to our friends and headed in to the city! This was such a fun day. Started at the EMP (experience music project) which was super cool, (insert child and thus parent meltdown here), checked into our hotel, went back to the EMP and then down to Pike's for dinner. The place we were going to eat was closing up so we asked one of the employes for a recommendation. He led us to this kind - of divvy but oh so delicious fish and chips place where everyone was watching the game (Go Seahawks!). After dinner we went swimming at the hotel and then ate cupcakes in bed while watching the Hobbit. I was a happy lady.

Jan 20: Started out today at the Aquarium and then the Space Needle for lunch. I have never eaten up there but we wanted to make it special for the kids so decided to spend some xmas money and splurge for the meal up there. The sun was shining like nobody's business and we were all so happy to be up there. Peter and I toasted each other over our wine/beer to a *mostly* successful family vacation and really, if there aren't a few melt down or "moments" then it's not really a family vacation is it? This was a good one though, a really good one.
Jan 21: I like to call this one "picky princess dog". This is actually our 2nd (3rd?) replacement dog bed. She did not like the others and had to be coaxed onto this one but she has since decided that it's OK and she will deign to rest her princess bones on it. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2014 Week 2: Jan 8-14

Jan 8: This is happening. The elementary school rite of passage that is learning to play the recorder is not going to skip this generation. The only difference is that when I was a kid we just picked one from a big pile to play. Now, they each have their own (which seems much more sanitary)

Jan 10:  I got to help in Mr. T's class today for the first time this year. He is so happy at school - talkative, friendly and engaged. I feel very lucky.
Jan 11: Mr. T was in the school play - along with 50 other kids. Rehearsals ran all week and today was two performances. He did great - not a lick of stage fright and he remembered his lines despite the fact that we did not practice them at home this week (because he "wanted the play to be a surprise" for us). He also knew enough to quietly prompt two other kids during the performance for their lines. I just love his confidence. A bonus to today is that my sister and niece and nephew were in town and they and my mom and dad got to come see Mr. T's first performance. It was so special to have the family there, especially my mom as she has just started being able to do things like this again. (also: awesomest owl costume ever)

Jan 12: Miss E came home today from a slumber party where there was very little sleeping. She insisted all day that  she wasn't tired and then this happened around 4.

Jan 13: Sometimes being an introverted mama to an extroverted kid is a little hard. Sometimes being an extroverted kid with an introverted mama and sister is hard. This kid would not stop talking or moving today. He is sweet and happy and endearing and by dinner Miss E and I just needed a little bit of quiet. 
Jan 14: Mr. T joined boy scouts this year and our first event is the pinewood derby. I have heard of these before but didn't know what they were but basically you are given a block of wood and some tires and you have to carve/cut out a car. It seems kind of crazy to me since you kind of need to use power tools and I wouldn't think all parents would have that ability but Peter and Mr. T are working on it and they are both pretty excited. 

2014 Week 1: Jan 1-7

Jan 1 - putting away the last of the Christmas stuff. Because we were out of town this year for Christmas this happened kind of late but it was a nice quiet way for the kids and I to spend New Years. Happy hibernating ballerina lady and Santa. ( I also dragged two tired kids through Ikea today which was not quiet or restful - especially when one of my children refuses to eat ANYTHING at Ikea just on principle.)

Jan 2 - A lovely photo of my leg. Having two babies so close together plus a family history of varicose veins plus gaining 40 pounds with each pregnancy equals really crappy veins. Every once in awhile I have to pull out the compression socks. These are about the cutest ones I can find and wearing them I like to pretend that I'm a marathon runner or world traveler instead of a mom with bad veins. It's the little things - right?

Jan 4 - putting together an Ikea cabinet. Mr. T got this to put his lego's in and he was equally excited to have it and to help Peter put it together
Jan 5 - This was my huckleberry day. The last day of winter break we headed to the beach to look for Agates and just have a family day before school started up again. The weather was gorgeous and we found two hidden beaches we'd never been to before. You know those days that are so perfect they don't seem real? This was one of them. So far, 2014 has had an auspicious beginning. 

Jan 6 - Back to school for the kids, back to work for me and Peter went fishing. 

Monday, January 13, 2014


Climbing Black Butte with a storm closing in

2013 will hopefully be the worst year of my life. I'm not kidding. If it is the worst year then I will have lived a truly fortunate life and if it's not, well, then I'll use what I've learned and deal with whatever may come. A little re-cap before moving on:

January: My sister's struggling marriage falls apart. There is anger involved.

February: We all get the flu - peter, myself and the kiddos. At the same time. After a week of that kiddos develop ear infections and strep, Peter gets pneumonia and I get strep.

March:  Tax season. My strep infection comes back and sets in in several places in my body. My mom's knee and hip arthritis deteriorates to the point where moving is painful. I work double hours and help her with errands, etc. Worry sets in. While Peter and the kids are at his parents house, his mom has a medical emergency and has to go to the hospital by ambulance. A few days later she is airlifted to our city and his dad comes to stay with us for a week while she is in the hospital.

April: Tax season in full swing. My mom has her first surgery of the year to repair her knee meniscus. It is minor. The surgery goes well because she is healthy and always has been healthy and active. For days afterward she has excruciating stomach pain. April 11 she ends up in emergency surgery to repair a tear in her intestine. She stays in the hospital for a week and then in a hospital bed rental at home for a month. Recovery is slow and she won't return to work until January of 2014.

May: My sister is served with divorce papers. Miss E's girl scout leader, and the mother of one of her friends begins to lose her battle with breast cancer.  Peter hurts his back at work. We are afraid this will be a long-term/career-ending injury.

June:  He rehabs his back and I become acutely aware that our family's financial stability is tied to my husband's physical body.  I continue to help my parents.

July: After berry picking one morning, my dad sends a text that mom is on her way to the hospital. I meet them in the ER. After many hours, she has another emergency surgery, just as big as the last one.

August: Miss E's girl scout leader, the mother of three children ages 8, 11 and 14 dies after 2 months of hospice care. This same month one of my closest friends moves across the ocean to start a new life in Europe.

September:  The kids beloved preschool teacher is put into hospice care for pancreatic cancer. I have to tell them again that some one they know and care about will die from cancer this year.  Peter tells me he has a lump under his skin that has been there for a few weeks. After a few nerve wracking doctors appointments it turns out not to be cancer. I became the co-leader of a girl scout troop of girls who's world had been rocked that summer.

October:  We take Mr. T to a specialist for the 2nd time to deal with an ongoing health issue. It doesn't help.  The dad of Peter's good friend dies suddenly in a car accident.

November: My mom has a hip replacement done. My sister's divorce is finalized. My sister's beloved dog suffers some sort of malady that leaves her unable to use one of her back legs. 2 vets don't know what it is or how to fix it.

December: On Friday the 13th of this 2013, this horrible year, my grandmother dies.

Of course, in that all there have been good things and sweetness. But overall the year has held anxiety, worry, tears and an overwhelming feeling of loss. Sadness. Crying in the car more often than not on my way to work or my way home from work.  I have spent more time in hospital rooms this year than ever before.  Half way through this year I started calling it the "year of loss" because that is how it felt. This year has re-shaped my family, my relationships and my job.

It has been a year of standing by and watching people I love very much drown. Drown in anger, depression, heartbreak, pain. At first I tried to step in and hold them up and then learning the very hard, very adult lesson that unconditional love does not mean you can save people. You are actually powerless to save them from depressions, bad choices, anger. Unconditional love means you stand on the dock holding out a life preserver  and whisper words of encouragement and hope they want to grab it. Or grab the dock, or try to swim. Something. But you can't make them.

Coming out, my sister is healing, my mom is healing (although there is another big surgery ahead), my marriage is stronger than it ever had been (THIS is a huge victory and not something that I at all take for granted) and my family has become closer, more real and softer. I am ready to take my lessons, my more compassionate heart and put this year behind me and move on to a new one.

2014 has had an auspicious beginning and I hope it continued. But if it doesn't, if there is more hardship coming our way, we can handle it. Our suffering has opened my eyes to the suffering of others. We have all suffered losses, illnesses and hard times. Nobody's life, family or marriage is perfect. There is no scale for hardship and we all have to remember to be kind and soft with each other.

In closing the door to 2013 I am looking at this space again. A few years ago I really enjoyed doing my 365 project and then writing that went with it. Then life got in the way. I'm hoping to get back to it again in some iterations. Maybe a 365, maybe a weekly thing. I'm going to try a few things out.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Oven Shopping

A blurry picture of my honey.

These last weeks of school are unbearably busy. June always is for us by the time you throw three birthdays and father's day into the mix. I just forget it every single year until it gets here again. Kind of like December. Somehow I never remember how busy December is until it happens. Anyway.

Peter has been out of town, my work has been busy, I've been helping my mom out a lot and the kids have events/things to turn in every single day. In the midst of all this our oven died. Since we have no microwave (really) and no toaster oven and the BBQ drip pan just HAPPENED to rust through this winter, it essentially means we have no way to cook or even heat food. Since our family is unlikely to become raw foodist (sprouted lentils aren't really my style), it's a problem. Today, after field day and Doughnuts for Dads and before pick up and my meeting with the TAG coordinator and Taekwondo and the cooking class I'm taking tonight, we carved out a few hours to shop for a new oven.

I was incredibly cranky and could tell I was stressed because the sales people were EXTRA annoying. I'm not really the sort of person that gets irritated with sales people. By the time one of them pointedly asked me if I needed help while I was in the middle of a phone conversation with my mom, and the teenage boy in hipster jeans tried to sell us the most expensive one there because it has a few more inches of oven room, I was kind of done. Fortunately we hit Starbucks for an iced latte and some research and re-energized. Then we found a floor model! on sale! that would work and ironically, after being nothing but swarmed and pestered by salespeople, we had to go looking for one to actually purchase the the oven. It's not being delivered until the 11th but I don't care. It was cheap, decent and I don't have to worry about it anymore other than figuring out dinner for the next few nights.

Whew. One thing off my plate.