Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Merry Months of May and June

In January Heather and I went for a winter run in the Nature Park, my favorite place to run. She was nice to play the psychiatrist as I deliberated over our upcoming move. We were still able to get out of the purchase of our new home and I was thinking of every possible reason we should do so. One big stress was where the kids would finish school for the year and knowing that staying at their schools would mean lots of driving. I know I cried during the conversation and wouldn't be surprised if the thought of trying to get Grant a nap in between all the back and forth was enough for the tears to swell. That sounds silly but I like my babies to have what they need. I agonized over everything and couldn't imagine how it would all work.

Well, we did it. As you can see, Grant is doing just fine. He even enjoyed his first popsicle. He got all the sleep he ever needed and besides the extra gas money we spent, everything went smooth as we drove back and forth every day. It gave us all down time before and after school, we were able to watch as the clover bloomed (wish I had a picture of that-Beautiful!!), we enjoyed the horses and chickens on the drive, and I only had one stoplight to deal with every day. Thanks to good friends I was able to limit the drive to only a few times every day and I was often forced (thankfully) to spend a little extra time visiting.

I'm a master stresser and the worries over Grant's nap have been replaced with worries of Rick's job. His contract job ends next week and he will be unemployed. I'm trying and mostly succeeding to keep calm and realize that things will be just fine. I stressed about so many unnecessary things with the move and everything was fine. I'm certain when this job issue is resolved I'll look back and realize that what seems so impossible is really very doable. And if not, I'll deal with it at the time.

Here is all the goodness that was going on in between my driving to and from the school.

Steph came for a glorious visit and this is the only picture I have to prove it. We were way to busy just living life to be taking pictures. Can't wait for the next visit.

Both the girls were beautiful dancers.

Em and I went on a fun field trip to a farm.
Holly and I went on a preschool field trip to the nature park.

Connor crossed the plains (around his school) in a reenactment of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Grandpa visited every week. We miss him now that he is working Graveyard shift and our schedules don't match up as well!
We survived the coldest camping trip ever. When we pulled up in a blizzard I almost turned around and drove the three hours back home. I'm glad we stayed. I spent the majority of the time keeping warm by the fire and was grateful for the wonderful company who joined me.

Abbie and Connor both competed in Battle of the Books tournaments as the top teams for the school (forgot to bring my camera to Connor's battle).
All three kids were in the school talent show. I don't have pictures of them doing their talents but in between each child Holly, Grant and I had an hour to explore. It ended up being one of those times that it was fun not having the option to go home in between. We found some adorable baby ducklings.

And Grant got to play with the big kids at the school. He didn't love it quite as much as they did. They couldn't get enough of him!

The day ended with the most adorable fashion show put on by a good friend.

Now that summer is here we are waking up when we want, spending the day reading and playing, resisting the urge to drive to our old stomping grounds every day, and anxiously waiting to see how wonderful the next few months will be. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ode to Rain

(Because my options at this point are to find the good in the rain or pack my bags and move somewhere sunny.)

Flowers everywhere. This alone is almost enough.
Big Beautiful Berries. This alone IS enough.
The smell of the nature parks we visit often, especially after the rain.
Green, green, green. Who knew there could be so many shades of green.

The fact that in the 9 years I've lived here it rarely rains between the hours of 8-9 AM when I am out running.
And when it is raining I've learned to hardly notice it.
And I've learned not to wear cotton sweats and shirts so I don't have to wring out my clothes when I'm done.
And I'd pick a rainy day to run over a really hot one.

Whenever the sun does choose to shine I feel justified in dropping everything and basking in it's warmth.
And for the month, or maybe two if we are lucky, that we do get sun, Oregon is a glorious place to be.

If it wasn't for the rain, I wouldn't be able to enjoy the expression and comments my kids make when the sun comes out.
They usually hide from "the big scary ball in the sky" (Quote taken from the local newspaper). They just aren't quite sure how to cope with it's brightness and warmth.

I'm rarely warm enough to have to deal with sweat-take that Steph.

Sports events get cancelled often and I love when things get cancelled. It means an extra hour or two that I didn't know I would have.

It's a good excuse to put off working in the yard for another day, and another and another.
I never have to water anything.
The stream in the backyard gets bigger and more beautiful with the rain. How can I complain when I get to look out at this every day?!
So rain away Oregon. I will stay true to you and your beauty because of the rain.
And I'll spend the day inside, by the fire, reading a good book.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I really love this bunch of kids. It was a joy jumping back in bed after I was already showered and dressed and being greeted by these little faces, cards, presents and breakfast.

I also loved a day when I got to call the shots and the kids attempted not to complain. That meant a walk, even if it was cold and rainy. It also meant game time and I got to go first every time.
It's a very good thing that there are sweet moments in the midst of motherhood. Because these are moments, not the norm. Most of the time I'm trying to think of ways to escape the insanity. But stuff like this keeps me coming back for more.
And doing cartwheels to celebrate being a mom to five wonderful children!

Piano Recital

I had my first recital at my new home and loved how well we all fit! Everyone did great, my own kids included. I played a duet with Emily so I don't have a picture of her.
This is my favorite song of all. All four kids play at the same time and even pop balloons during the performance. They played wonderfully.
Nights like this make being a piano teacher so worth it. I love my job!

A Common Sight

This is how you'll find me once a week at 11:00 at night. I love it. So glad I have a dad who shares the same obsession with games as I have. We spend hours every week playing games after we have a fabulous dinner and dessert. And lately my dad has even been working in my yard, planting beautiful flowers and introducing me to the joys of having a bird feeder. I feel blessed to have him in my life!

4, 10 and 37!

We were able to celebrate Holly, Connor and Rick all in just a few days. That meant lots of cake and happy people.
This picture is a bit staged but she really was thrilled to come down the stairs and see a kids tent to play in.

Her presents were hidden in the tent.
Half way through the day I remembered that part of having a birthday is having a cake. I relied for years on Steph and her amazing cakes and so that part of the birthday was never my responsibility. So we had to make a quick trip to the store, make our 9X13 cake, and let Holly decorate it. She was perfectly content.
This is how Holly woke up the morning of her birthday,
and this is how she was dressed the following morning, shoes and all.
The following day we had Connor's birthday party. Connor's aunt was able to get us tickets to the Portland Timbers soccer game so he invited a few friends and their dads and they all had a great time. And once again I made a 9X13 cake.
On the boys birthday we took the kids to Sky High. They had been begging us for a long time. Here is Connor trying to do a back flip off the side tramps.
And here are my boys. I love that they get to share this special day.
And that we get to eat lots of cake. All in 9X13 pans. Luckily I have three pans for three of my favorite people!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Relishing in the Good to Get Me Through the Bad

The weeks after we moved into our new home were blissfully happy. I absolutely loved my new home and the space that we had. I loved being so close to Rick's work and saw him at least 3 times a week during his lunch hour. It was one of those times in life when you know you just have to relish in it because it is just a bit too good to be true. I'm glad I did relish those few weeks because my perfect life started to fall to pieces. Rick found out that he would be losing his job in a few weeks. The stress was more than I could handle. I regretted our move and wished I was still in a small home with a smaller mortgage. I was feeling sad that I was a in a new ward with no friends and missed feeling at home in my ward. And on top of it we all got the flue. Rick, myself, Connor and Abbie all had fevers and everything that came with it, for days. The house was messy. I'm not sure what we ate but I do remember hours of tv and the little kids running circles around the rest of it. Although the fever was gone in less then a week, it took a full month to recover. Connor's fever lasted for almost two weeks and ended in pneumonia. It was an awful time with some very dark nights. I allowed fear to take over but continued to plead with the Lord to help me have faith. His answers came through music, a patient husband, good friends, a sister who let me complain about every detail, and when I allowed it, His Spirit. I learned much about myself, both good and bad, and was once again reminded that the Lord loves me and is very aware of me.

Since then, it has been the immense good in my life that has helped far outweigh the bad. Rick was blessed with a temporary job and we continue to pray that things will work out when that job is done. When I hear my children pray for it I am comforted by their faith. I miss seeing him often but love our weekly trips to downtown Portland.

We are all healed and appreciating that health. I savor my runs with running group, my bike rides near my house that make me feel I am in Europe, and learning to swim better. I can swim a mile and get faster each time. I hope to do a triathlon this summer!

The kids are also keeping me engaged in all of their wonderful things. We were able to use our days and days of missed school to work on Science Projects. They all did a fabulous job!
Connor finished his season of basketball and is now busy with baseball.
Abbie participated in the regional Battle of the Books for the second year in a row.
Stephanie opened up her home to me and let me recover completely. We spent our spring break with her in Idaho searching for the missing sun. We don't see much of it here in Oregon.
We also spent our time eating. Lots of yummy food and lots of yummy chocolate. Visiting Uncle John's chocolate store was a highlight! My kids were so spoiled.

And Grant was thrilled to be in a pool. He didn't stop moving once and loved including Hazel in his fun.

Abbie did an awesome job in the 5th grade play about pirates.

And this little one makes it impossible to be sad. Even though he is more work then any of my other children were, he brings me countless hours of joy. He makes me laugh many times every day and I absolutely love hearing him say new words. This week he mastered shoe, doggy, bye-bye and many more. He is a delight.

He will go from this...

to this in a matter of moments if things don't go just right. We are well aware that he rules this house and we let him do it.

Easter was wonderful. It's always fun to dye the Easter eggs. However, I think I spent the majority of the time hovering around everyone making sure nothing spilled.
The kids discovered some candy on the stairs and were excited to see what more the Easter Bunny brought.
We also kept with a long tradition to get together with some good friends for Easter dinner and a hunt for the kids. Here they are anxiously listening to instructions about finding the Golden Egg with money inside it!

I spent many happy hours in the kitchen preparing my portion of Easter dinner. I really love to bake!
We were blessed with a beautiful, sunny day and our neighbors invited the kids to help them plant trees in the green space behind our house. It was magical to watch them prepare the soil and name their trees. I felt so blessed, as I often do, to live in such a beautiful place.

Watching the kids love each other brings me the greatest joy of all. Abbie was babysitting for us while we went to an open house at her school. We came home to the girls all dressed up.
And we are looking forward to watching Emily star in the play Sound of Music. She is thrilled to play the part of Gretl and will do a fabulous job.

And today we are celebrating Holly's birthday (more pictures to come). We woke her up singing Happy Birthday from all of us. And yes, she got to wear her princess dress to bed.
Lessons learned: There is so much goodness in life. There is also a lot of sadness. And that's ok. It's ok to be sad, and scared, and mad, and whatever else you need to be. Because the happy times will come back and you'll savor it all just a bit more.