Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Tonight as I was driving home from a class that is changing my life I thought about how very grateful I am to be married to a man who cares about my dreams and helps me make them come true. When I got home I went straight to the backyard to water the garden and I tried to be quiet but Matteas heard me so Aaron put his shoes on and I heard his baby feet come tromping down the ramp his baby voice calling for me and when he came around the corner and saw me "Mama!" he said joyfully so I scooped him up and he put his arms around my neck, his little hands feeling for my hair which is his favorite comfort and we watered the garden together. We went inside and plugged in the new fan I brought home for Jack who was already sound asleep after playing in the slip 'n' slide Grandma brought and then eating a spaghetti feast and I think I have never been happier than I am right now in this moment.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I haven't been blogging much at all lately. Not for lack of material, we've just been really busy. I signed up for a children's book illustration class at UW that began last week, and it's pretty much the best thing ever. It's the first time I've ever been in a classroom full of people who are all equally passionate about the subject and everyone genuinely wants to be there. Plus, artsy people are friendly. Everyone talks to everyone and shares ideas, materials, books, inspiration, it's an amazing environment. So that keeps me pretty busy/psyched.
Matteas doesn't sleep with Jack yet, but he's very excited about the possibility. I don't think they're ready quite yet; I'm not ready for bedtime to look like this.Here's the other reason I haven't posted. Go get this book. That is, if you love good food, good stories about food, family, travel and love, go get this book. And then read it in small portions so it doesn't go too fast. I haven't been taking my own advice, but I can't help it. I have a serious lady-crush on Molly Wizenberg. She writes about food in a way that's so sensual and passionate it'll make you blush. When I'm not corraling wild boys or reading, I'm playing with this stuff. Tonight in class we're going to work on three-dimmensional models and cut-paper. I feel like I've died and gone to kingergarten for grownups.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Today was an amazing day; we had the first yield from our potato garden. It was pretty much garden pandemonium at our house. Back in March, the boys helped plant these potatoes and we anxiously watched the first dark green shoots make their way through the dirt and grow measurably larger each day. Jack and Matteas made a commitment to these potatoes and watered them faithfully each day, something which was necessary after 27 straight days of sunshine
Patiently, we watched the plants grow and finally, flower. I think I might have been the giddiest of the three; it was indescribably satisfying to watch my kids plant, tend, and harvest their own food. Matteas isn't quite two, but he can add "potato farmer" to his list of skills.
Matteas calls them 'toes, and he was running around the yard clutching his treasures and shouting "Toes!" at the neighborsIt was like an Easter egg hunt, pulling up clumps of earth and finding jewel-colored orbs nestled in a tangling of roots and soil. The sounds we made upon seeing our prize was more like what you'd expect from people watching fireworks, but this was way more exciting. We couldn't keep bounty like this to ourselves, so we invited Trevor and Tristan over for dinner. I made roasted pork tenderloin with spiced pears, cut some fresh arugula and dressed it with lemon vinaigrette and shaved Parmesan, then steamed the potatoes and tossed them with butter and salt. The boys(including the big boys) were picking around their meat to get to the potatoes. It was more than just the romance of having grown our own food, they really were far and away the best potatoes I've ever eaten. They were much sweeter than store-bought, and the texture...it was as if the potatoes had somehow grown heavy cream into their very flesh, waxy, smooth, and almost custard-like in their silkiness. I wish I had pictures of Matteas shoveling large bites into his mouth and furrowing his brow in pleasured concentration, but I couldn't stop eating long enough to get the camera. There were no leftovers. Even the last tender leaf of arugula was scraped from the bowl, and by Tristan no less, who claims to hate salad. I am so looking forward to more harvest parties; we haven't even gotten into the tomatoes(six kinds), cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, onions, raspberries or carrots.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I got to spend a few hours with Damien today; now that he's not hooked up to anything he's free to move around, so we got to visit outside and soak up some of the beautiful sunshine we've been having. The best news is, he's glad to be alive. He has a long road ahead of him and he knows it, but we are supporting him as a family and I believe he feels the benefits of all the prayers being offered for him. Medically he is pretty well healed; his jaw is still wired on the bottom and he is on an all-liquid diet, but in a few weeks he can chew some real food. His left eye is damaged, but it can most likely be repaired; it is no longer infected but it remains a little too swollen to operate on for now. While I ask for your continued prayers, I feel the time has come to keep subsequent information a little more private. His physical healing is well underway, but the rest of his journey will be a rather personal one. If you actually know Damien and want information on how he's doing don't hesitate to ask, but I won't be putting much information about him on my blog. I have passed on all of the suggestions people were kind enough to send me to Damien, and I would welcome any further suggestions or notes of concern. It means a lot to him to know that so many people are praying for him and loving him. Thank you all for being part of his healing.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Today was Jack's last day of school for the year. Tonight we will go to the park for the end-of-the-year picnic, and then we will be on Summer vacation.
Jack on the first day of school, September 2008. The pants he's wearing are about two inches too short now, and I had to cuff them that day so they wouldn't drag on the ground.So much has changed since his first day of school; he used to be so shy, but now when we go to the park or the beach he makes friends left and right. Matteas was barely walking that September, and now he runs full speed ahead whenever he sees an open space and has to be involved in whatever Jackie(Matteas' new name for his brother) is doing. It's going to be an amazing Summer :)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Matteas saw Jack in his sun hat and insisted that he wanted one too, so we stopped at Rite Aid on our way to the beach. I had resigned myself to spending $10 on a hat that would get five minutes of wear before being tossed on the sand and forgotten, but he kept it on the entire three hours we were there. He hated hats when he was a baby but I kept trying because I hate putting sun screen on his face, and this summer he seems to have become a hat boy. We've been spending a lot of time at the beach lately, which makes everyone happy. The boys never run out of things to do, and I love watching them in such an open space where their boyness can run wild and free.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Every Summer, the same thing happens: I make all kinds of plans(see below post) to make the Summer last and then I blink and it's August. Aaron and I have been discussing ways to mark our days and be a little more mindful of the passage of time. Jack really loved doing our Jesse tree during Advent, and I wanted something similar; a little ritual we could do every day to make us a little more present. So I came up with this: Using some thumbtacks, twine, and the cutest tiny clothespins you've ever seen, we made a flexible display. At the end of each day, Jack and I choose a picture from that day, print it out, date it, and add it to our growing collection. Somehow I didn't take any pictures on June 1st, but I decided we'd press on anyway and focus on doing rather than doing perfectly. Jack cuts out the pictures after we print them and glues them onto a backing I cut out for him. I used my stash of scrapbook paper I've been hoarding like a miser(saving it for what, exactly?) and cut out some letters for the top of our display. We put it up on the dining wall, which has always been kind of bare and sad. It our photo project goes well, we might do it all year long. I thought about using poster board for individual months or even picture frames, but I wanted it to be easy to change if we got something out of order. And, it was very cost-effective. I found the twine in a closet when we moved in, the paper I already had(and bought on sale anyway), and the thumbtacks and clothespins were about $8. I think my favorite part might be the tiny clothespins. I got them at Michael's. I'm just using our printer and regular paper to print the pictures because it makes them immediately available, but I think once a month I'll order copies from Costco and put them in an album. So much has already happened, and I have a feeling this year is going to be a significant chapter in our lives. I know what you're thinking: Summer has not, in fact, technically begun yet. True. But June 21st seems awfully late to start the summer because very quickly it becomes July, and mentally I feel like July is the middle of Summer. So Summer starts and then two weeks later it's half-way over. At least, that's how it feels to me, so I decided to start our Summer calendar early. It helps that we've been having 80 degree days and enjoying perfect watermelon. Matteas already has a killer tan and is getting blonder by the day. Our garden is flourishing. We spend whole days outside, making quick meals and eating on our picnic blanket in the shade. We fill up the kiddie pool everyday, and after a day of splashing the boys get their watering cans and use their pool water for the vegetable garden or making mud pies. I expect that by the end of Summer, Fall will still take me by surprise just like it does every year, but my dining room wall will be proof that Summer did actually happen.
Friday, June 5, 2009
When I was a teenager, I had a mild anxiety problem. A mild, but very specific anxiety problem: I dreaded 9 p.m. That was the cut-off point my mother had established between going out and staying in; if I didn't have a "plan"(my mother always insisted on a clear plan: what we were doing, where we were going, who was going to be there, when we would be back) by nine o'clock, I'd be spending the evening at home. It seems totally reasonable to me now, but as a teenager it drove me crazy. Around eight I'd start feeling antsy. During the summer I often had plans, but on the nights I didn't a fear would grip me as the clock ticked towards nine and I would begin to fear what I might miss if I stayed home that night. Sometimes there was no clear event that I knew of, it was just a vague anxiety that there might be something cool somewhere other than where I was and if I didn't find out about it and get there before nine I would miss it. I was 21 when I got pregnant with Jack, and that was not the plan. The plan was to move to Arizona to live in a $2,000,000.00 house with a dream baby and pursue a career in journalism. The family I had nannied for in Seattle moved to Arizona and flew me down twice to persuade me to move with them. About a week before I planned to buy a one-way ticket to Phoenix, I took a pregnancy test. I'm not going to share any details, but it was pretty shocking that it was positive. I panicked, cried, cursed the heavens, cursed Aaron, cursed all children everywhere, cursed myself, cried some more. What followed were some of the most agonizing months of my life. I tortured myself thinking about what I was going to miss, what I had lost, what I couldn't get back. I was 21, I was supposed to be going to college and hanging out with my friends, not having a baby. I came to love Jack before he was even born, but I have loved him more everyday since. After Matteas joined our family, things got harder but better. Not easier, but better. My kids have challenged me in ways that no other life could, and while I still have a long way to go in my personal growth I've come pretty far since that first pregnancy test. Jack is a lot like my mother; he likes to know what the plan is. It makes a huge difference in his behavior if he knows what's going to happen next; he likes to know what's going on and how he fits into it. He's also keenly aware of a positive experience and tends to enjoy repeating it. Last week, on a particularly warm day, I poured Aaron and myself a glass of wine and we sat on the front step, which faces west. It was a beautiful sunset, the air was finally cooling off, and you could smell cut grass and hose water. Jack and Matteas were chasing each other on the front lawn, and eventually came over to sit with me and Aaron. "Mom, what are you guys doing?" Jack asked. "Oh, just enjoying the evening," I replied absently. Ever since, Jack has referred to sitting on the front steps as "enjoying the evening." Last night, after another scorching day, I came outside with a glass of wine for me and a sippy cup of juice for Jack. I sat down and called him over to me. He came trotting over and asked what I wanted. "I want to sit on the front step and enjoy the evening with you," I said. "Oh," he said quietly, grinning from ear to ear. We went over the events of the day, discussed plans for tomorrow. The sun dipped below the horizon alerting me to the fact that it was long past Jack's bedtime, but we lingered. "Mom," he whispered, snuggling into my arm, "I'm glad I didn't miss the evening." "Do you know what I'm glad I didn't miss?" I asked. "What?" I leaned forward, resting my forehead on his and staring into his big blue bespectacled eyes. "You," I said. "I know," he grinned. The best part is, the longer I know my kids, the more I love them. Before I had Jack I didn't want kids. Now that I have two, I want more. Not necessarily right away, but maybe once Matteas is potty trained and sleeping through the night. At least, that's the plan. :)
I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who responded to my post asking for help for Damien. All the advice is not only helpful but hopeful; it is comforting to hear from those who have been there and found a way back to health. Damien is still in the hospital and recovering well from his third surgery; he may still need surgery on his left eye, which the doctors thought would be blind but miraculously isn't. He was able to start taking clear liquids(broth, juice) and hopefully getting some actual food stuffs into his system will aid his recovery. I feel a batch of organic chicken stock coming on... Again, thank you to everyone who wrote, commented, e-mailed, and facebooked your suggestions and your prayers. I know sometimes the internet thing can feel a little impersonal, but I feel very personally appreciative of all of you.