Sunday, June 21, 2009

Canning June Memories, instead of Jam....

Unfortunately I just found out that I missed Strawberry season up in the Skagit Valley (they had an early crop this year). I like to go up there with the kids and pick berries then make jam like a crazy lady for the next couple days. I'm so bummed that I missed it so I thought I'd can some memories from this past month instead.

Walking down the driveway on sunny summer days. The buttercups are in bloom, school is almost out. Meeting that bus for the very last time, plopping fat salmonberry's into our mouths. We walk back up the hill giving grass to the horses. Hand in hand we talk about our day . Empty backpacks now hang on their hooks, waiting for fall to be filled again. 5am arrives and sunlight streams through the window-far too early. He sweetly pulls the drapes closed before leaving for work. Sleeping in, no schedule to keep-waking each morning to the chirping of birds. Sunny, no-TV days, finishing chores, gathering sticks then going out to play in the sandpit. Making castles and digging tunnels. Jumping on the trampoline, "Rocks, Bombs and Survivors" game. Pushing kids on the swings, playing "wilderness family". Bare feet and sandy toes. Warm summer breezes blowing through the house, peaceful naps out on the porch. Squirt guns, naughty boys playing in the hose-AGAIN! Drenching their clothes tracking sand and mud into the house. Filling up the pool on uneven ground, are there really no flat parts in our yard? Overgrown stone path, lost in the abundance of the thriving weeds. Smelling the wildflowers in bloom. Many a morning glory brought to my door hidden behind the back of a smiling boy. Picnic lunches in the front yard or under the shade of the walnut tree. Throwing grapes into each others mouths trying to catch them, and getting hit in the lip. Crystal Lite Pink Lemonade. Fencing in the field for the goats, building a chicken coop . Losing 8 chickens not to a racoon but our own dumb dog. Daddy pushing his bicycle up the driveway drenched in sweat after his long ride home. Starting the peacemaker award that became more of a burden than a blessing. The boys laying in the grass searching for 4- leaf clovers and finding dozens.

Getting family pictures taken, a boyhood obsession with giving bunny ears. Mom a broken record of "Seriously Boys!" Watching UP at the Drive-In Movie (first time for everyone). Playing in the rock pile finding "Crystals" and precariously stacking rocks. Nezzy (our kitty) gone missing, praying her home-a windy night brings her safe return. Reading Princess books to a little sister in exchange for her highly sought after snuggles. Fun with masking tape, ferry rides, Sounders game. "Go slow for Mt. Raineer......Wow!!!". Summer dresses & new hair bows....."Mama, you make my hair pretty?"

Little League season comes to an end to the great sigh and relief of Mom and Dad....

No more weeknight practices and 2 hour games. Our Saturdays are free again and we can get stuff done. No more dinner in a Tupperware for Daddy, Baked potato meals. water bottles, snack schedules, and "Mom-where's my cup?". Watching through the fence, snapping pictures, trying to keep Lauren & Ben out of the dugout-temporarily entertained. Standing between 2 fields watching both boys games. Daddy in the dugout coaching the teams. Mommy in the bleachers, I think I'm going to scream! Cheering loudly, sucking on sunflower seeds, bribing Jacob to swing off the machine.

Father's Day

For Father's Day Aaron requested that the boys "work together to make something" for him. After some intense brainstorming the boys came up with the idea to make a candy house using his favorite kinds of candy. Joseph even used some of his horsetail money to "buy the roof"-(Hershey Bars). After a lot of work they finished it then hid it under their bed upstairs. A day later I was cleaning in their room and found candy wrappers under the bed and a half eaten candy house. What was I thinking, right? We had to go back to the store and get more candy before Father's Day. Aaron loved it and the boys were so pleased with themselves. Aaron also needed new work gloves since he and his Dad were digging fence posts holes. We got some nice ones as a gift and had the kids sign their names in puffy paint.

After church on Sunday we headed to Aaron's Dad's house where we had a BBQ and spent the day with family doing guy stuff (playing numerous "ball games"-football, baseball & of course foosball.)

Words cannot express the deep joy that fills my heart when I see the way my husband loves and interacts with my children. I'm so thankful to have the kind of Father for my children that I did not have as a child. I count this as one of my greatest blessings in life. I'm also grateful to my Father in Heaven who has always been there for me from my earliest age. His love and influence in my life buoyed me up during the difficult years of my childhood. He has always been there comforting me and healing my wounded heart. What a blessing to so many lives is the influence of a loving father. I'm grateful for the father's in my life who have shown me the real meaning of Father and given me reason to celebrate this day.

"Mommy's Marathon"

Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon
June 27th

26.2 miles of pavement and 25,000 runners participating. It was literally a sea of people. I ran the whole way without stopping (if you don't count the 60 second dash into a porta-potty at mile 3-I drank waaaaay too much water before the race). In the end I made my goal of a sub 4-hour time. Hooray!!! The final result was 3:58:57 A little closer than I would have liked but still a new personal record by 3 minutes. My boys were there at the finish line holding up their handwritten signs cheering me on. That is my favorite thing in the world-seeing them there at the end.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fearless little girl

I'm inclined to think that most 2 year old girls would not hold a chicken, hand feed a horse and beg to be pushed as high as humanly possible on the worlds largest swing. Lately I've been noticing (and coming to respect) what a brave little girl Lauren is....

Last week when we were walking down the driveway to meet the boys at the bus the neighbors horses came up to the fence. Lauren immediately grabbed some grass and ran over to feed them. She was not afraid at all to hold her little hand out to that big head and let the horse's teeth brush past her fingers sometimes holding the tiniest blades of grass for them to eat. Not once did I see her jump back or let out a single girly scream when they got too close.

Recently we got baby chicks and from the first time we brought them home Lauren wanted to hold them. This wasn't surprising to me, but what did impress me was how calm she was when they started getting bigger and didn't really want to be held. Trying to escape my daughters grasp they would chirp hysterically and begin dramatically flapping their wings. When I first saw them do this I thought for sure that Lauren would be traumatized by the dramatic show and drop the chicken and run. On the contrary she would continue to carefully hold the frazzled bird all along saying in a calm voice, "It's otay birdie, it's otay."

A few days ago I was out at the sandpit pushing the kids on the swings and I could hardly get Ben (my almost 5 year old) to let me give him an underdog. "That's too high mama!" he'd say, clutching the rope and tensing up with fear. Then at the other end of the swing set Lauren would be yelling for me to come back over and push her again because she was slowing down too much. "Higher, mama, Higher!" Every time I'd get her going really high I'd run around to the front so I could see her little face beaming with joy as the wind blew her hair back each time she swung forward.

I love discovering the inborn personalities and character traits of my children. Some are naturally loving, some naturally strong willed. Others are naturally compliant and have an innate desire to follow rules. They are all unique and each day their spirits unfold before my eyes and I wonder as their mother how these qualities will influence their adult lives. How will it be a part of the grown men and women they will one day become? I often wonder if mother's of astronauts or famous artists would say of their grown children, "I'm not surprised my son went to the moon, he always had a love of the stars or had an adventurous nature."

And what will my daughter do with her life? I'm sure I won't know the answer to this question for many years. But one day will I say when seeing the woman she's become, "I'm not surprised, ....for even at the age of 2 she was fearless and brave." ?