Thursday, August 21, 2008

Good morning photos









I have been sending David pictures of the boys each day that he's been gone. They are fresh from sleep and snuggly then. Here they are.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Welcome back, grumpy pants


Well, my best friend pointed out to me yesterday that I haven't added to my blog since June. Of course, there was a 2 week vacation to Arizona in July (actually, quite lovely) and then the business of returning home. I felt like I was too busy to write, too tired, etc...etc...
But, today I realized that I have been grumpy, not myself, burdened, edgy and stir crazy. I think I was afraid to see my voice in print. As a wise woman once said (Mary Pipher) "if your message is 'life is sh*t, spare the reader".
So, here I've been for a few weeks, edgy and anxious. The kids are hard, the house is a mess and on and on. Then, a blessing came (but disguised as a burden, ha!). My husband, wonderful soul mate, got called away to Wisconsin on a business trip. Gone from 5 am Monday morning until late Friday evening. Ack! A week with the kids with no lunchtime visits, tag-team dinner and bath, help with Braeden while I put Isaac to bed.
What will I do if I am just simply out of energy? How will I survive when I am pulled to the edge?
This sense of needing to have my energy up to take care of the family, the urge to have a sense of sanity and peace, the desperate need to be able to cope with the demands by myself has given me an incredible gift.
I have given myself permission (gasp!) to slow down with the chores, the enrichment, the constant feeling of being 'on the job', and to replace these things with the self-care that will allow me to cope by myself. Today, for the first time in... how long?... I felt at peace. When I came back to taking care of my kids my parenting came from the right place in my heart.
So, I know I'll forget, but here it is in print! We MUST take care of ourselves in order to be the best parent for our kids. Yes, yes... so many things must be done and they are all important, but becoming a rusty, bent nail doesn't exactly help build the house.
So, there it is. I am missing the company of my husband, and his sweetness, but here I am taking care of my two kids all alone for the week, and I am happier in my skin than I have been in awhile. Happy enough to blog again. Thanks Kim!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Uh, oh! It's the COPS!

Yesterday we went to the library to check out some books for the week. For some reason, I thought it would be a quick trip in and out (have I not learned anything in the last 3 years?). I popped a quarter into the parking meter and away we went. We had to push the automatic door opening button. Then we had to take the elevator. Then the stairs up to go to the bookdrop that is outside (that one is more fun, duh!). Finally... movie choice for the week, and then books. (Books are a random impulse choice of whatever is nearest. Anything I like is rejected out of hand, slipped surreptitiously into the book bag and then loved as the favorite once home). We stopped at the fountain outside and splashed in the water, passed the patch of strawberries and had to count all the tiny berries we could find. Up the outside stairs where a long discussion ensured about whether or not a bird would poop on our head (nearly happened last week). Ah, top of the stairs, almost there... but wait! A friendly police officer asks if Braeden wants a sticker. He's shy. He doesn't answer. We wait... finally, YES! He wants a sticker. The officer and I chat about our kids (he has 2 boys also, and don't little boys just LOVE their mommies...) Finally, I drag Braeden past the crane... and find a parking cop. Giving my car a ticket! ACK!
Thankfully, seeing that I am the beleaguered mom who was chatting with her partner, she gives me a break. Smiles and asks me to have a good day. Braeden said maybe he could be a police officer. Cool.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A nursing career for me...?

One fun thing about being married to me (I'm sure David would say) is that I change my mind about what I want to be when I grow up. Weekly. Or, more often. This week, what about a nurse? I'm sort of serious, but anyone who knows me would think I was crazy. I am great in emergencies but I swoon at the sight of an infection. Isaac's circumcision was enough to make my knees weak, but I love helping people and am un-phased with almost anything that comes out of a human body. I have fainted in hospitals before, and almost always get light-headed when I'm there. I tend to feel slightly nervous that there are so many sick people there. But, I think I'm nervous because I'm powerless to help.... so, what about nursing? I don't think it's quite a fit, but it is getting close to the thing that I am looking for. Barbara Kingsolver said that happy people have found a way to use themselves like a good tool. I'm now just looking for where I belong in the tool shed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Very un-Martha

I saw a giant book of "keeping house" at the hardware store during one of our near-daily trips. It had tips for how to keep your home tidy, and advised that your appliances are the "furniture of your kitchen. You should treat them as such". I do find myself lounging with my head in the fridge sometimes...
Waking up this morning, I find my house to be very un-Martha. The furniture in the kitchen is covered with crumbs. Everything seems covered in crumbs. I think the laundry room furniture is full of wet towels, strangely. There is a copious amount of brightly-colored plastic sprinkled liberally through each room. My youngest child decided that he loves to devour books. Literally. Ergo, our house is also full of tiny pieces of wet, masticated cardboard. Each room has a theme of disorder that can't quite be tamed.
The giant book is tempting me. If I just had all those excellent tips, I'll bet I would find the time to treat each room like the important part of the home that it is. The book, I'm sure, must have all the answers. It was a GIANT book... calling me toward the perfectly ordered pantry, a kitchen that has clean furniture, everything in its place.
I would go out, right away and get it but there is no room on my bookcase and I have NO IDEA where the baby stashed my car keys. So, I remain, very un-martha.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Joys of Remodel...

So, we love our house again. It turns out all these tiny, insignificant things that "don't really bother us" really bothered us. We have the best contractor ever, and he has put in new french doors, a new back door, a new kitchen window and overhead lighting, and he has trimmed all of our windows and door frames. It is so lovely! Money is always a stessor, as is wondering where to draw the line. The dust and noise and power tools lying around the house are exciting... (Isaac is drawn toward danger, inexorably). But, with all that, last night I sat down on the couch and looked around and felt invigorated and at home. It made it a bit nicer to get up at 5:30 this morning with the baby, too. At least (though dusty and a bit disordered) the house looks pretty. Pictures coming soon... as soon as I can find that darn card reader. I know where it USED to be...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sleep!

I haven't had much time to post lately... or, more accurately, I haven't had much mental acuity to post! Those living with small children will understand the bone-weary tired that comes with it. Isaac is 7 months old now, and still waking up several times a night. We have tried everything that we can think of. Just when we think we've got it everything breaks apart.
Today at Fred Meyer Braeden kept saying "this is my cheese. My double decaf cheese. Cheese is made out of a special kind of decaf milk." In my haze I just said: "Yep. That's right". I didn't even laugh!
To make things more interesting, we are remodeling our house. We love the changes that we are making, but everything is dusty and moved into unexpected places. Just when my brain only works on auto-pilot things are changing!
As you know, it all goes by so fast. I'll tell you, it better! :)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Another cute quote...

Last night in the car, Braeden had this to say:
"Hey, I know where butter comes from."
Me: "Where?"
"It comes out of the heads of magical butterflies."
So now you know.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Welcome Alexa Mae!

My baby brother and his wife are parents to little Alexa Mae. I am so proud of them, and so happy to be an auntie to this little one. Welcome to the world, Alexa!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

The night before Mother's Day I was really hoping for a little more sleep than usual. Isaac has been getting up at all hours for about a week, wanting me to nurse him back to sleep. I have been doing that but getting increasingly tired and desparate for rest. That night he woke up every 2 hours. He was unsettled and fussy and tough to soothe. It felt like I had just gone back to sleep when he was up again. Finally at 4:45 he woke up and I nursed him to sleep looking forward to a couple more hours of rest before Braeden got up. I set him down (ever-so-gently) in his crib and he woke up instantly and started crying. I started crying. Wandered back to bed where I fell face down on the mattress and cried. David gently went to get our sobbing son and let me sleep for a little while. When I got up at 7 Braeden was up and cranky (his sleep, too, has been impacted by this loud baby of ours...). Isaac (who is usually quite happy and alert in the morning) was very edgy and difficult to hold or soothe. What the heck? This can't be Mother's Day... I want a DO-OVER.
Later in the evening, after a difficult day or cranky tempers and lack of sleep (all around) I snuggled up with Braeden. No matter what the situation, Braeden is a champion snuggler. The best around. So we snuggled up on the couch under "orangie" (the mother blanket to his most precious of all loves, greenie). He was softly stroking my arm and he said:
" Mommy you are so pretty and I love you."
I said thank you and gave him a kiss. He replied:
" I told you I love you because it's Mother's Day. I love you."
I said, "Did Daddy tell you to say that?"
"No."

And David solumnly swears that there was no coaching involved in that interaction. I guess Mother's Day was wonderful. An to top things off... I got 8 (YES, 8!) hours of sleep last night. Ahhhhhh, motherhood.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Busy...






We had Jonathan and Julie over for dinner last week. As I sat and talked with Julie, who has been at home for awhile while she looks for a new job, she shared that she had been baking homemade yeast bread. We talked about having the time to do some of the things we always want to do like gardening, baking and knitting. I want to make sure that I enjoy this time home with my babies as much as I can... so, to that end I am endeavoring to try my had and making our home cozy for all beings and fun for me. I have made jelly, build a mossy-rock wall in our front yard, replanted flowers, baked bread (and muffins, cookies and scones!), tried to use new ingredients for cooking that I have never tried before and I am trying to convince David that we want to raise chickens. (No luck on the chickens by the way...) All new little twigs and twine for my nest, and what a splendid treat!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Reluctant Blogger

I have been so sad since the day that our nest was attacked that I haven't felt much like blogging. My blog was created and named after the nesting family outside our door, and I couldn't help but feel that they were a metaphor for our family. The mother bird nestled in soft and cozy with her babies. The daddy bird flying around, trying his best to feed and protect his family... actively bringing treats to mother and babies alike. They were nesting like we are, with our young family. Their comings and goings were centered on the new life that they were nurturing, and mommy bird was sacrificing her time to fly and explore so that she could help her eggs develop and grow. They were a miracle, and they reminded me of the simplicity of our choices and the natural joy and self-sacrifice that is the gift of parenthood.
So, here we are with the images of the babies dead on the steps, nest torn apart and eggs scattered in the dirt. What to do with this new information? I have been thinking about our bird family and I realized that the metaphor continues. Sometimes it does seem like nesting families are stalked by predators. It is too difficult for a family to protect itself all alone. The influences of media targeted at pre-pre-schoolers stalks our nest to try and consume our family. The growing wealth inequity creeps up and tries to lure our protection away. There are many preditors (more than those facing our bird family) trying to pull apart the things we have brought together.
I realized that our nest needs, and receives, protection from all around. I am so lucky to have family and friends who love us and our little nest and take care to call attention to preditors and help us keep them at bay. We've had support all along... we've never had to go it alone. So, our nest remains cozy... and this momma can keep on blogging.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Three year old's truth...

A comment made this afternoon while we were snuggling:

"Mommy, we have three kids and one girl in this family."

"Who are the kids?"

"Braeden, Isaac and Daddy."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tragedy

I am surprised at how sad I feel about this post. Our nest was attacked either last night or this morning. Two of the babies are totally gone and one is dead on our front porch. All three eggs are on the ground. The nest was pulled mostly out of the tree. No evidence was left behind about the attacker. I am surprisingly sad, and not looking forward to talking to Braeden about the baby birds.

More about birds



David took the most amazing photo of our babies yesterday morning. It was quite an amazing catch! It looks like only three of the eggs are going to hatch. The other eggs aren't being sat upon any more, and several days have passed, so we think that the hatching is done. Not sure what will happen to the eggs now... will they be pushed from the nest somehow? Momma bird is away from the nest most of the time now, and it is Daddy bird that spends most of his time feeding the new ones.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Kitchen Diet

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/03/putting-your-kitchen-on-a-diet/



This article pretty much validates everything I ever thought about my kitchen clutter! Looks like I'd better make time today to clean out that junk drawer. :)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Red Letter Day!




We were greeted this morning with grey skies and drizzle... Kind of a cozy day after a few nice warm sunny days. As Isaac and I stepped out onto the porch this morning to greet the day, we peeked into our nest as usual. This morning we saw something new. Pink and grey fluff-balls and a tiny pink finch working its way out into the world. I have never seen something so poignant as a pink-wet tiny seemingly helpless little bird makes its way out of the shell. It was simply wonderful. I am including pictures here, but they don't really do justice. Looking at the tiny hatchlings in the nest first hand is amazing. And I feel today, as if I have been given an amazing gift!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Why I love weekends...






Friday night started with a delicious dinner made by my husband... Mongolian Tofu. Yummy. Dawn and Bill came over for dinner, so afterward David and I had the chance to get away for a walk on the waterfront. The sunset was amazing! Saturday morning David took Braeden to meet Dawn and Bill for coffee while I stayed home to work on our business project and Isaac took a nap. Having 2 hours uninterrupted focus was really great for my brain! Braeden hung out with his grandparents all afternoon (a Saturday tradition) while David and I ran around with Isaac. We went to the Farmer's Market and scored some lovely shitake mushrooms then headed over to Fairhaven. Dirty Dan Days were in progress so we sat in the sunshine on the village green and introduced Isaac to grass (the kind you have to mow, obviously!). He loved the texture, music all the people and crawling around. It was 70 degrees and sunny.. everyone in the family was happy and mommy was especially happy!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fox News

http://www.motherjones.com/mojoblog/archives/2008/04/8064_obama_to_finall.html



An interesting YouTube video about Fox News coverage of Obama's campain. Quite a statement about our responsiblity to be wise consumers of media.

The mystery of boy babies....revealed


http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080423/wl_uk_afp/healthdietsexchildren

My mom sent me this very interesting link to an article about creating boy babies... I was shocked.

A Car Conversation


Here is the conversation that Braeden and I had leaving the library yesterday:

Me: "Do you want to drive home today?"

Braeden: "Kids can't drive. "

Me: "When you get older you can drive. "

Braeden: "Then I can get my own car."

Me: "What kind of car do you think you'll get? A Honda, a BMW... maybe a Miata?"

Braeden: "I think I'll get a Porshe."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Zen...?


Here you can see the object of my 6 month old's obsession. Zen, our much loved, slightly coddled, sometimes grouchy 5 year old pug. He has weathered the changes in our family fairly well, but I think Isaac will give him a run for his money. At 6 months old, somehow our child is already able to chase the dog. During his waking hours, Isaac spends considerable time contemplating Zen and how to acheive reaching him.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bird Crazy


I guess this is just a good 'ol fashioned bird blog. Somehow, the topic of the critters just keeps coming up! Today's adventure with the boys was to Clark's Feed and Seed! Ah the joy of petting baby bunnies, walking into the chirping bird room, the kittens! But, today's highlight was the brand new chicks that just hatched last night. We were all mesmerized, and have made the "Viewing of the Chicks" at Clark's an annual springtime obsession. Braeden has requested a chick for Christmas. We shall now test the memory length of a three year old.

Well... six speckled eggs


When I went into Isaac's room this morning, and pulled open the blinds I saw Momma bird flying away from her nest. It has been cold the last few days, and she has been on her nest non-stop. Finally! A chance to check on those 5 little eggs... Turns out I should have named this blog SIX speckled eggs! David took pictures while the parents watched nervously from a nearby tree. Here you can see our eggs. Aren't they cute?
So, six speckled eggs... ? It might be time for us to get another dog!

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Million Smiles!








Yesterday David and I took the boys to a park in Lynden. It was unexpectedly beautiful and amazingly unique. The community pitched in to build it, and it vibrates with a sense of pride and fun. Braeden loved the "tots" area, especially the toy tractor, and David spent lots of time on the kiddie swings! A quiet creek splashed by in the background, and the whole family spent the afternoon relaxed and full of fun. I highly recommend it! Million Smiles Park on Depot Rd. in Lynden.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Zen of Preschooler


On Friday I took my kids (Braeden, 3 and Isaac, 6 months) for a stroll in the neighborhood. It was in the 50's out, blue sky and lovely. We collected rocks and leaves, and a Braeden found a very special prize. A little bb that somehow Braeden knew was something that was fired out of a gun. (We haven't yet touched on the subject of weaponry with him yet...). We walked down to a small creek that flows through a green belt across the street from our house. We have ventured there fairly often, and last week followed a mother deer and her fawn down the creek.This time, as we walked along the bed of the stream and came upon a concrete spillway, we saw some piece of electronic equipment that had been smashed into bits. Wires and bits of plastic were scattered all around and I was really upset to see our tranquil spot sullied. Braeden asked what the matter was and I told him that I was sad about the mess in the creek, and mad that someone would leave it there on purpose. Braeden looked up at me and said "Don't worry mommy. We just need to get a big bag to put the pieces in and then it can go in the garbage where it belongs and won't that be good?" I love that kid.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Love Birds Nesting


The last week has been a flutter of excitement in the shrub outside our front door. As we walk up the steps into our house we are greeted with a tiny finch nest, right at eye level. For weeks now the sounds of furious bird-construction have been coming from the front porch. The nest was finished about two weeks ago. All yesterday the mouse-brown female sat in her nest watching our comings and goings. We did not get a peek inside. Today, she left the nest and allowed us a glimpse. Five speckled eggs in her cozy nest. Palest blue with tiny brown speckles. They look like the Easter candy, Robin's Eggs, but less garish. We can't believe our luck! Five babies should be living on our front stoop in about 2 weeks. The momma bird is back in her roost, with red-breasted dad making a loud show of feeding her and protecting the nest, swooping all around. Now I am staying up at night, thinking about how to keep cats off our porch.