Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Understanding Happy

It has taken me eleven years to understand Happy.
I know what it is now.
(I should've known the day you were born...smiling.)
And I know why it's misunderstood.

AbbySue will never dress in black.
Depression is afraid of her.
The skeptic will misunderstand her.
The envious will label her.
Educators will misjudge her.
And her peers will cross their arms, shaking their heads at her colorful socks, her un-inhibted laugh, her eagerness to share, her ready embrace....they will say that she is weird.


It is a little weird that a single human soul could truly be this;


So yesterday, when meanness tried to apologize and you so clearly had already forgiven...grown ups dropped their jaws at you....

"Don't worry." you said. "This is part of being a kid. We can work it all out. It's water under the bridge!"

You out-shined mean.

How can someone like that be un-happy?

This weird world can take a lesson from you sweet girl.

Your Mom & Dad are proud.

5 years

Monday, October 29, 2012


I sit this evening, watching the harvest moon glow through the outstretched limbs of the old spruce tree.  The autumn air stands still and warm. It's late October. Our chorus of bullfrogs sing as AbbySue gently plays a melody on the rented violin. Ben & Zibby snuggle under clean sheets, golden heads resting together...the brother reads and little sister listens. Daddy is somewhere in the sky, already missing all of this home we share. For us, goodbye's provide, and so we've learned to be grateful...because "there is a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing." And so I pause, guiltless, grateful, and ready to...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fourth Grade Politics

"So, Ben, how is the campaign going?" (me)
(Ben is running for class Vice President at the request of his classmates.)

"Pretty good I'd say." (him)

"So, who are you running against?"(me)

"My friend Austin." (him)

"Oh. Who do you think will win?"(me)

"Well, Austin told me today, 'Ben, you better be ready, 'cuz you are going down!'" (him)

"What did you say?" (me, laughing)

"I said, Yah...maybe. But be careful...'pride goeth before a fall you know.'" (him, nonchalantly) 

Ben, you never cease to amaze me. 

Hilarious boy. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

the apple doesn't fall far...

Oh Zibby, You are a very strong soul. If you were a boy, you would've been named "Stonewall". I know that your focus and determination will go far. Sometimes, people call you "strong willed" (too much negative press in my opinion.) They said that about me too. I prefer a better adjective..."un-bending". The truth is, if you want to be "strongest" you must bend to One. Keep bending your heart towards your Heavenly Father. And He will lift you up...higher than you ever could on your own. You are my heart. I know that you feel things deeper than you would ever lead us to believe. I love that you have this quiet strength. We share a lot of things....even our temperamental wavy, straight, crazy hair. I love you. ~Mommy

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

on finding a craft that does not involve counting

It's called needle felting and in case you are like me and become easily distracted by crafts that require patterns or counting this one might be for you. I read a little bit online about how it's done and then decided to give it a go. This little bird was made over the weekend, usually in the evening while cozied on the couch next to the hubby watching Doc Martin.

I had a bag of roving (wool) that I had bought and divided along with a few friends at the end of spring, but it sat waiting until the rains kept me inside long enough to sit down and do something besides digging in the dirt with these hands of mine.

At first the wool just looks like a blob while you poke away at it with (a very sharp) felting needle.

"ouch! ouch!" (me)

"What in the world are you doing?" (him)

"I'm making a bird. Do you think it looks like a bird yet?" (me)

"Maybe." (him)

poke, poke, poke....

2 days later on the couch in evening.

"How a 'bout now? A bird?"


So, I guess I found a crafty thing I enjoy.

Now, to find some protection for my poor fingers.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

City Pumpkin

No school for two days last week meant that the kids and I could drive up to Seattle to spend time with Daddy. We stayed at out favorite hotel. The one with the big, old windows, views of the sound, and just a few blocks from the waterfront.

The city is becoming a kind of "home away from home" for us and we've been making the most of all that it has to offer. 

So, on Wednesday, I packed up the car, picked up the kids from school, and we headed "straight" up...("Mommy, I'm thirsty, Mommy, I have to pee...again...means a three hour journey quickly becomes a more than four hour trip. Thankfully, we missed rushed hour!) 

We pulled into the hotel just before 8:00. The kids ran in, headed upstairs, threw on their bathing suits, and begged to be taken to the pool. 

Note to parents....the pool is key when looking for a hotel. Trust me.

Because we came straight from school, the kids had their backpacks, and AbbySue had gone to the pumpkin patch for a field trip that day. I noticed that she had already decorated her little pumpkin with wide eyes and an expressive grin. 

The next morning that pumpkin sat on the hotel table, smiling at us all, making us feel Octoberish. I snapped a quick photo and labeled it "City Pumpkin".

An idea! Why not take "City Pumpkin" with us for a day and take photos of his adventures with us around the city? 


The kids had the best time setting him up and thinking of fun places to take his picture. 

They would laugh when I would say, "Wow, City Pumpkin is such a good little traveler. Oh my, City Pumpkin hasn't complained of being hungry once! Gosh, City Pumpkin has amazing bladder control!"

It was a blast. 

So, here it is..."The Adventures of City Pumpkin in Seattle."

We gotta do this again!

 City Pumpkin
 At Ivar's
 On the docks
 Enjoying the Market
 Tourist shot
 Refreshing dip in the pool
 Out to eat
 Taking in the views

Sleepless in Seattle

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

bridge crossing daughters

As mentioned in a previous post, this mom was taken by surprise when her firstborn baby girl decided to begin growing up. We have been gently navigating our way through the aisles of training bras and deodorant.

Still a child in outlook and imagination, our AbbySue is braving these edges of puberty like a pro.

Part of me wanted to believe that if I just put it off, she would stop all of this silly "changing into a young lady" nonsense. But, alas, nature cannot be denied and I have a full blown blossoming daughter on my hands.

What to do, what to do?

Cry into my pillow like a baby...(yep, did that)...

then suck it up and embrace the beauty of it all.

A dear friend of mine, who also has a "bridge crossing daughter" under their roof, loaned me a lovely little book called Gentle Passages by Robin Jones Gunn. What struck me most as I read was the way the author involved her love and experience as a woman and a mother into commemorating her daughter becoming a woman. She made it special.

Although our AbbySue hasn't yet crossed over into womanhood, this book encouraged me to be involved and help guide her, hand in hand, along the way.

So, last week I told AbbySue that I had a special day planned on Saturday, for just the two of us. I put together a little gift and we drove up to the Mt. Angel Abbey, found my favorite stone bench over looking our beautiful Willamette Valley, and shared with her my heart about the changes ahead and what a gift God has given us when He created us as women.

She listened, wide eyed, leaning in, catching every word, like I was letting her in on a very special secret.

At that moment I was so grateful for the opportunity to share this moment together. I realized how wrong I was to try taking a back seat to her growing up. 

She understands that I'm here for her...always. 

The rest of our day was spent sharing a trip to Bridgeport Village, enjoying hamburgers and frozen yogurt, all the while talking together, and (me) answering questions that she now felt comfortable enough to ask.

The day was a gift...to both of our hearts.

I'm guessing that our stone bench up at the Abbey will be occupied by another little daughter in the not too distant future.

And I will be a little less afraid.

At the Abbey with my AbbySue

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I almost forgot how to blog...

Wait a minute! What!? It's already October? Holy cow. I feel like I'm in a fast forward version of life. I have never been so busy...ever. Where has the time gone...

Well, let's begin with their first day of school...back at "better than ever Evergreen." Just two minutes down the road, we are blessed with our tiny, country K-8 public school, surrounded on all sides by gold fields and sprawling farms. Their teachers are imaginative, challenging, loving, and fun. I have the opportunity to help out on Thursdays in Zibby's class and drop in on the other two whenever I feel the need. We love our school. We are so grateful to be back.

I could go on forever about other moments that He has given us... my daughters with their "heidi braids" and dirndls at Oktoberfest, our music lessons on the Abiqua with Miss Miriam, Ben fencing Epee league and our Thursday drives down Sunnyview into Salem together, Zibby's third year dancing her heart out at ballet, AbbySue horseback riding under the sunny oak trees of Canyonview on a autumn afternoon, our small town homecoming parade and the Evergreen Eagles Avengers float (that, I must add, won first place....the kids won't let us forget), the annual "Evergreen Dessert Social" where our community of parents "Simply Gave" to their beloved school in the "shed" that Rachael and I decocrated to hearts content, celebrating "Hobbit Day" with our Lord of the Rings friends (thank you Buckouts), Sunday sunrise drives to lead worship and fellowship at our church, and the list goes on and on....just like so many families at this season of life, we are blessedly busy!

Some of my favorite moments as of late have been when Aaron and I head out to work in the "yard". I use the term loosely...the truth is, our property can be a huge amount of work. Our hands are growing thick with callouses as we work side by side...no joke...chopping fire wood, hacking out old trees, making burn piles, and building compost, feeding the chickens, and all the time laughing at the fact that we don't know what the heck we are doing! Trail by fire I guess. We like to think that by the time our grand kids are around we just might have this place under control. Ha!

My heart has so much to say...and I know there will time provided to share more of those deep things that the Lord has been lovingly teaching us. One word that He has been speaking to me in the midst of this hurry is "Contentment". It's a treasure trove of blessing when we decide to apply it liberally to every moment of this life He gives.

...but there must always be time to play.  We take it seriously around these parts.