Sunday, September 12, 2010

And so it begins...

You see that boy with his arms in the air? The one most excited about the goal? That is my boy. That is Oldest Son at his first soccer game. My heart swells with pride at this photo. No...he did not score the goal. One of the other boys did. That did not stop his joy. Simple. Pure. Joy.
He had joy when he had the ball. (Note the grin on his face.)

He had joy as he lined up the dreaded "Soccer Triangle." (Love that sweet look on his face.)

More joy as he kicked that ball down the field...the wrong way. (He had the ball! Who is he to care what way it goes? I don't think he even heard all the shouting that he was going the wrong direction.)
And the ball...the soccer ball. I never wanted to do this. I never wanted to spend my weekends at games and my weekdays at practice. And I ask myself...why do I do it? And the only answer I can come up with is for the joy. The joy Oldest Son has when he plays. Simple joy. How can a Mama ask for more?

So...go the wrong way if you like. You never have to make a goal for me. You don't have to be the biggest or the best. You just have to be you...and keep your joy. (And when I cheer and shout...just know that is the competitive side of Mama. I always enjoy a good game and taking sides.)

Yes...that is me at a soccer game. (I guess Husband had to document this.) And sweet Youngest Son. Poor boy. It is rough being the little brother at a soccer game. Especially when they break out the treat bags! Hang in there little one. You will grow up all too soon for this Mamas liking!

Keep smiling Oldest Son. Keep running and playing with all your heart. I sure do love it!

And while all your teammates are focused on getting warmed just turn that little head and smile. The smile that melts me every time I see it. The smile that came when I least expected it. One of the best smiles to enter my life. The joy in your spirit is unique and rare and wonderful. Smile on Oldest Son...and Hello Soccer.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gratitude Monday...Crescent Bar Style

80. Sometimes the best things in life are the little things in your life. (This is all the kids on the last day of our "Friendcation.") I sure do love all the little things in my life. They are pretty sweet most of the time and a little sour some of the time!
81. The joy of watching Husband and Friends Husbands as they work on Project Sandbar Waterslide 2010. Just good, albeit gritty, fun!

82. Pulling Husband in the early morning sun behind the boat he loves!

83. Oldest Son and his sweet smile.

84. The simple happiness that is having both Oldest Son and Youngest Son looking at the camera at the same time! (This happens only once or twice a year at best!) (They love the boat too! Like Papa Like Sons.)

85. Sweet Youngest Son and his love of the "Pool."
86. His too cute for words goggles.
87. The way he says "Look at me Mama!" (Said just before diving under the water and popping his head up to quickly look and make sure I was looking!)
88. Youngest Son and his sweet soul. I am afraid he is getting older.

89. Two of my three sisters.
90. How we all wore black swimsuits on the same day...without planning.
91. The help those two girls give me on vacation. They are truly a blessing.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Rose Parade

Oldest Son and Youngest Son watch the Portland Rose Parade. The fact that they are both in the photo and that it is not blurry is a small miracle.
Youngest Son looks onward with one of his Cousins in the background as well. It makes you wonder just what a parade looks like through the eyes of a two year old boy?

Loved this float. Love Portland Town. Such a great place to call home.

My sweet little Niece. It was her birthday this day. I bet she thought the parade was just for her! Happy Birthday to Me!

Oldest Son loved his free red balloons. I let him pick a chocolate from Moonstuck. We had come with Grandma Grape. There were too many fun things to count!

"Time Is of the Essence" by Irene Foster

Now is the time to get things done...

wade in the water,

sit in the sun,

squish my toes,

in the mud by the door,

explore the world in a boy just four.

Now is the time to study books,



how a cloud looks,

to ponder "up,"

where God sleeps nights,

why mosquitoes take such big bites.

Later there'll be time

to sew and clean,

paint the hall

that soft new green,

to make new drapes,

refinish the floor -

Later on...when he's not just four.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

papa’s day

as i sit in my bed

exhausted after a long day of life

i listen to the sweet voice of our papa

words of curious george bring laughter

soft and loud

silly and sweet

though bedtime should have come

they have found their way back

to our bed

he found then and met them with patience

and offered them one more story

i am so thankful for him

when i have no more

when i am done

he pulls through

he brings much needed relief

i love that papa of ours

he is truly the best



Monday, June 7, 2010

I Heart Safeway!

I got off work about an hour early yesterday and made my way over to the Salmon Creek Safeway for a little weekly grocery shopping. I was not planning on getting a lot, but one thing led to another and this is what I ended up with.

Pep Farm Crisps

(3) Hamburger Helper

Honey Nut Cheerios


Molten Choc Cake (2)

Wheaties Fuel

Jolly Time Kettle Corn

Cheetos (4)

Tortilla Chips

Snyder's Pretzels (4)

Sobe Life Waters (6)

Vitamin Waters (3)

Simply Potatoes (2)

Whole Milk (2)

Quik Choc Milk (2)

Yoplait Yogurt (10)

Fage Greek Yogurt (2)

Frozen Dinners (2)

Always Pads

LA Looks Gel (2)

Stayfree Pads

OB Tampons (4)

Alice in Wonderland Blu-Ray DVD $24.99

Bananas (5)

Green Onions

Romaine Lettuce


Whole Rotisserie Chicken

Total: 36.72 OOP

(My total before all the COUPONS was about $137.00!)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Weekend Love

I just love holiday weekends. More appropriately I just love holiday weekends where I am not working. I was supposed to be working but some nice person was willing to work my day for me and I her day for her. (I just love amicable relations.) (I just love it when things turn out in the end.)
We spent the weekend up at The Lake where my family has property. I just love being there. It brings back so many good memories and it requires one to just let go. In fact, camping in general is a loss of control. No house to clean. No dishes to wash. No clothes to launder and fold and put away. No bed to make. No toys to put away. Yes...camping is the perfect get-away for the Type A individual such as myself. I can finally let go and I love it.
(Some examples of the simplicity of camping.)
1. After dinner. No dishes. Just burn them in the fire or throw them in the trash.
2. Wake up in the morning and roll out of one's sleeping bag. No bed making needed.
3. The kids can run and make all the mess their sweet hearts desire. I don't care. I don't have to clean it up.
Yes, most everything about camping appeals to me. Like I said, I love it.
I don't even mind the clean up when one arrives home. Throw it all in the wash and put it all away. (Restock all the camping bins so they are ready for the next adventure.) The house is clean and the bed feels so good. In fact...everything is good. You are home and everything is as it should be. Oh...and that first shower after a weekend away from one. So good. Love it.
The mind is rested. The memories are made. The soul feels free. The kids are worn out and sleep soundly. Love, love, love camping. (Even camping in the rain.)
P.S. Husband loved camping as well, though everyday he would threaten to go home if the weather turned. (Which it did.) Though he never went through with his promise. We were having too much fun and love and the rain.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just Some Oldest Son's Birthday Party

I just love those lashes! (Where did he get them?)

Youngest Son just loves that frosting. Every last bite.

He is totally times...but I just love that boy.
Oldest Son and Youngest Son just love Dinosaurs and the color green.

Just some Oldest Son and his missing front tooth!

Just the best 5 year old Birthday Boy around!

The Couch

Hello there void. I am feeling a bit lost again. Not the kind of lost where you can't find your way. Rather the kind of lost where you feel a bit alone on the journey. The journey from child to adult is often guided. It is protected from the real reality of life. Sure, there are bits and pieces of real life to be lived inserted here and there. Just enough to help prepare us. Then you arrive. At first the freedom mixed with responsibility is exhilarating and exciting. So much ahead. So much life to live. Then, one day you wake and you realize you are not the 20 year old you once were. (Is that really my backside in the mirror? When did it start to look so…old?) Life has come and it is here to stay. Full of so many things. Day in and day out. Take this last Sunday for example. The morning was full of the usual bed making; dressing, straightening up, breakfast. Church comes and goes. It is good. Talk of what it really means to be His. I feel moved in my soul. Worship is powerful and I feel the sacred for a moment. A jaunt to the Farmers Market is graced with a bit of rain, but to no surprise for those of us born and raised here. Home again we come. Lunch and lunch cleanup. I make my way to the couch at the kind prompting of Husband. It feels so good. It is the first time I have ACTUALLY sat on my couch in many months. (I do quite a bit of sitting on my couch during College Football season, but that is another story. I heart College Football!) Not the kind of sitting to brush hair or put on shoes, but the kind where you just sit. I sat and I sat and I sat. I watched You Got Mail and laughed and cried and remembered the first time I saw it. Of course I had photos to edit from Oldest Son's 5 year old birthday party the day before, but one cannot be idle when there are only so many hours in a day. I eventually tore myself off that couch. I helped build a LEGO Water Plane with some boys that I happened to birth. Husband made dinner and I cleaned it up. Jammies went on. Lunches were packed. Plants watered. Toys put away. Lights shut off. To bed. And we begin again in the morning. (Of course we were up multiple times in the night soothing bad dreams and scaring off monsters. The day never really ends. The responsibility never really leaves.) And so…I feel a bit alone. I know I am not. I just miss me. I miss my hobbies. My interests. My active self, not just at a gym with the masses, but out in this wonderful place we live. And every now and again. Those glimpses of me come through. Every now and again I find that time. The time to just be. Like the couch. And it all waited. It was there when I got up. Waiting. Just need to remember it is OK to sit down. OK to let go. OK to be me.

P.S. Perhaps next time we can discuss why I often wish I could scream and cry out emotions but I am simply unable? Another day. I have two boys patiently waiting to show me the "Racing Track" they built. That is my life. And if I am honest with you…with me…I really do love it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Siouxon

I have these two boys. Oldest Son and Youngest Son. They are quite something. I know I speak as their Mama, but the things they say and do. Examples to follow.

The other night in bed. Just as we were about to fall asleep. We heard a noise and wrote it off as not important. We went back to the business of falling asleep. (Very important business I might add.) In the morning I discovered a certain Little One was not in his crib. He was sleeping, with his feet hanging off the bed, with his Big Brother and his Pooh Bear.

Last night. Youngest Son woke up at 0543 with a bad dream. I know this by the sound he makes and the words that follow.
Youngest Son: The D (pronounced duh) Moose! The D Moose! (As he falls out of his crib and I meet him at his doorway.)
After much holding and loving and calming Youngest Son finds his place in our bed and snuggles down next to Papa. Meanwhile, Older Son has woken and I am walking him back to bed. After all, it may be light out, but that is way too early on a school morning for any 4 year old!
After Oldest Son is calm in his own bed and youngest son is babbling a mile a minute to his all too sleepy Papa, I remember Youngest Son was NAKED. In to his room I march and notice there are no jammies and no diaper there. Also, the bed happens to not be wet either. Hmm....
I am making my assumptions that Husband put Youngest Son to bed without jammies or a diaper and not sure what to think about this. Then I decide to investigate a little bit more before I jump to wife-like conclusions. I go into the Kids Bath and notice that there, by the toilet are his diaper, his jammies, and his most prized possession, Pooh Bear (which is not a Pooh Bear but just a Bear he named Pooh). Oh, and lots of yellow pee all around. That boy is off I tell you. He won't pee during the day in the toilet, but he pees during the night in the toilet.
Just today. Oldest Son is napping after being exhausted from being up so early. Youngest Son is quietly in his bed "sleeping." I hear this noise upstairs. I ignore it until I hear this.
Youngest Son: I need your help Mama.
Youngest Son: Mama!
I make my way upstairs only to discover that Youngest Son is on the toilet and all around him on the floor is clean white toilet paper.
Youngest Son: (Big Smile!) I go poop!
Mama: Lots of praise and encouragement.
Apparently he only goes poop or pee when he can use it as an excuse to get out of his crib.
On that note. Husband had a great story about Oldest Son over the weekend. Pretty funny. It goes something like this.
Oldest Son: I got an idea. (While driving in the car.)
Papa: What?
Oldest Son: No more hot sauce for older kids. Hot sauce is for younger kids. Older kids can have a time out. (Very matter of fact on this.)
Papa: What age kids can get hot sauce?
Oldest Son: 2 1/2 year olds.
Papa: Really?
Oldest Son: And adults. They like hot sauce.
I love those kids and that husband.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Watch (A Poem I Wrote for my Grandpa)

(It has been a year since he left us last May the 12th. One full year. We gathered at his grave. Words were spoken. Prayer was lifted. Flowers were left. It is funny how a year can come and go and even with no contact, the ones we love can still feel near to us. We can still here their voices. Still here their laughter. Still feel their presence. I miss him. Miss his advice. His comfort. His solid place in my life. The best part is yet to come though. Heaven. Glorious Heaven. I love you Grandpa. I thank God for you. I look forward to one day seeing you again in the presence of our Savior.)

I watch. Body resting on fresh white sheets. Chest rise and fall. Breath in and breath out. When did he get so frail? (I never noticed how white his hair had become. How soft.) When did time begin to move this fast?

I want to capture the moment. Take it back. A day, a week, a year. Want to hear another scripture off his tongue. Another prayer from his lips. Another moment. Any moment. I try. I will it so. I open my eyes and it is as it was before. Body still on fresh white sheets. Chest rise and fall. Breath in and breath out.

Stay. Who do I think I am to ask the God of all for such a request? Would he want it so? When he, so close to the One who made, the One who gave, the One who loves. Should I open my hands? Should I let go? Is that the real worship?

So I walk away. Whisper words of gratitude, and love, and promise. Touch warm face, hands, and feet as I pull myself towards the door. Eyes wet. Too afraid to verbalize fears that when I return warmth may be no more.

Hands open. Hands open. Hands open. (Perhaps if I say it, it will be so.)

Husband say's are you able to talk? (Soft yes in return.) Faith is the topic of night fall conversation. It has to be more than just a choosing. You have to truly BELIEVE. (Nodding on my part.) He presses further, no REALLY BELIEVE. (Yes, yes, I reply.)

Then He works. In the night. He allows lingering. He speaks not just yet. There is still work to be done, dirt to tend, ground to water, seeds to grow. It is the spring after all.

Time passes. He is home now. Adaptation. Adjustment. Things are not as they once were.

What before seemed important has moved to the side. I put off what can wait and make time for what cannot. I treasure, I cherish. Each moment forever etched in the heart.

We sit on the doorsteps of the weekend. There is sun today. Rubbing swollen feet is the order of the morning. I look around and find we are alone. I talk. He talks. I am amazed how he still ministers. Still shares truths of the One.

A shift in the sand. A crack in the earth. An opening in my heart. It is Mother's Day now.

Quick stop turns into a forever moment. He is in the chair. "Can I give him a bath?" (Of course.) Fears of him being uncomfortable or cold race through my mind and I push aside. Water filling in yellow basin. Familiar scent of soap. I use words to tell him of my plan. They seem steeped in child-like tone. (Perhaps later I will digest why?) Slowly I wash. First face. Then chest. Then back. Then arms. (Hard to not notice the frailness. I push forward.) Fingers, carefully washing each one. She brings two shirts. I pick the blue one. It is soft and he agrees that soft is what he would like. Slowly we dress. He closes eyes and returns to rest.

A day passes. So much change in so little time. Did I not think this possible? Must work. Must organize. Must keep mind occupied with tasks so that heart does not slip and fall into many pieces on the floor. Arrangements. Acceptance.

Eyes are beginning to feel as heavy as heart. It is after midnight. Must go home. Must be with husband and boys. Must let sleep find me. I kiss him softly on the forehead and mutter words of love and prayer. He purses lips and attempts kissing. I correct the error of my ways and grant him the kiss he is due.

A new day. I rise. Dress self and boys. Forego the morning routine. We leave with food in our tummy and dirty dishes scattered about. Prayer is on my lips.

He is there. In the bed. Dressed still in soft blue shirt. Breathing changed. Different now. Daughters and Sons. Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren. Surrounding. Filling home. There is prayer. There is scripture. There is song. There is sharing. There is comfort. There is love. (Oh so much love.)

Time is near now. The presence of God holding the room. More love is shared. More prayer is sent. God comes. He takes. He gently carries away the soul of the faithful one whom we have gathered to honor.

Hands open. Hands open. Hands open.

Alone now. Finding solace in the words of Psalm 103. I read. I weep. I allow the heart to feel. To open. To pour out my love in liquid.

Today I remember him. May I have the strength to go forth in worship. May hands remain open. He would want it so.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fogarty Beach

60. The sounds of the ocean.

61. The smell of ocean air.

62. The simple joy that is finding bits of shell on the beach.

63. Sunshine. Warm on my face.

64. Watching children cover husband and youngest son with sand.

65. Hands digging in the sand...hoping for a clam...only to come up mostly empty.

66. Car drives with enough time for a nap. (I heart sleeping in the car.)

67. Eating dinner at the home of kind family friends and feeling like family.

68. Swimming in the hotel pool with all my boys.
69. Thankfulness for the endless love of children despite our unworthiness.

70. Husband and his eye for beauty through the camera lens and beyond.

71. The joy of the nights sleep in ones own bed after being away from home.

72. Possibilities...

73. Oldest son and his first lost the tender age of 4. (It seems early to me.)

74. Watching brothers lift each other up.

75. Oldest son and his reading. (Finished his first real book and did AMAZING. I cannot believe he is only 4.)

76. The joy of boys and LEGOS. It is impressive what they can build.

77. Trying new things...despite how badly I may have done them. At least I had the courage to go and see.

78. Anna's new baby Liem. (So sweet.)

79. Making it through another day of work.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Sandbox

Today we went to the Washington Park Zoo. It was a spontaneous trip, brought on at the suggestion of my ever brilliant husband as he was preparing to leave for work this morning. Husband: Why don't you take the boys to the zoo this morning? Wife: Well, I guess I could. And so we went. I pulled together a sack lunch and threw a variety of coat options in the car, along with the BOB Stroller, which I LOVE, and we were off. Well...almost. We had to stop at the gym for my Wednesday Step Class which I have become quite fond of. Then...a not so quick as planned errand in Portland, which turned into a full drive around the city as I missed my exit. Then...we were off to the zoo.
Once there we made our way to our most favorite spot at the zoo. You would think it would be the animals wouldn't you? Well, it's not. Not in our family. I have two boys. Two very active boy boys! When we go to the zoo we LOVE the SANDBOX. It is under the ramp, next to Stellar Cove. We could sit there for hours and play with the dozers and diggers and dumpers. Oldest Son is a Construction Site Manager deluxe. He commands that Sandbox as if it were his very charge. Youngest Son wanders about doing his own things and frequently stopping by to have me wipe the sand off his hands.
Which brings me to this post. Last Saturday Husband dug a hole. It took him many hours. It made his back ache to be sure. It left him dirty and sweaty, which I kind of like, as long as it is outside. He had many other things he should have been doing. Many other things pressing for his limited time home. His love led him to dig and dig and dig. He is a wonderful papa. He is committed to raising them well. He is love to them. He is love to me.
50. Husband
51. Oldest Son
52. Youngest Son
53. Holes in the ground.
54. Sand, sand, and more sand.
55. Yard work.
56. Sunny days spent at home.
57. Sunny days spent at the zoo.
58. The sun in general. (I am not picky.)
59. Sweet words from Oldest Son, my lover. ("I love you Mama. There is no other mama in the whole world I love as much as you. I would never want another mama."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Week

See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices,
Fields and gardens hail the spring;
Shaughs and woodlands ring with voices,
While the young birds build and sing.
You to whom the Maker granted
Powers to those sweet birds unknown,
Use the craft by God implanted;
Use the reason not your own.
Here, while heaven and earth rejoices,
Each his Easter tribute bring-
Work of fingers, chant of voices,
Like the birds who build and sing.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Rain in the Spring (Can you feel the Son?)

40. He hung on that tree. He died alone. An alone we no longer must experience. An alone that is something we may never know, unless by our own choosing. He hung on that tree. For me. For you. For us. For this I am so thankful.

41. For the weather that this week comes at such an appropriate time. A storm came for Him as well. It brought darkness to day. To usher in the light. I am grateful for this reminder. This little bit of sacred in the everyday.

42. The boys that talk and play about this home.

43. Places to meet the needs of our family during this difficult economic season. (Please give me the strength to rise above my sinful self and maintain Your character. Give him continued strength as well.) Humbling. Difficult.

44. I am so very thankful for hope. There is hope in the Spring. There is hope in the everyday. There is hope in Him. I am so thankful for hope.
45. Oldest Son and his reading of the book Max. (I am so proud of him and his love of learning.) Thank you Lord. May this love also grow in Youngest Son.
46. Youngest Son and his use of the Potty Chair this morning. (Four Times.) A small miracle. A large bit of happiness for Mama. My prayer is that he is done by this summer for the swim season.

47. Grateful for the courage to serve. (It had been a long time.)

48. There are so many permanent aspects of sin. So many finals. So many never go backs. Thankful I am that He bore the ultimate finality of my sin. Death. Separation. He took it. He carried it. He built a bridge. Right back to Him.

49. For this. This bit of my heart that beats for Him. This part of me that longs for Him. I cannot explain why. I cannot tell you how I got here. I am a sinner. Broken. Bruised. Scarred. Yet somehow He found me. Somehow He made me His. Somehow He loved me. Somehow He understood me. He saw me. (I was seen.) I am not perfect and I do not claim to be. I am worse than you think. (Much worse I am sure.) One thing is true. One thing is perfect and good. How He love me so. How He died for me in that love. For that, I am forever His. Forever seeking to get it right. To get Him right. For all my life. With all my heart.