Friday, September 28, 2012

A Letter to Myself

In seventh grade, our history teacher had us write ourselves a letter that we would receive in the mail the year we graduated from high school. I remember writing the letter and thinking it was really odd. But when I received that letter, it was really awesome to read my words written five years prior.

I think I am going to do this again. I am unsure of the logistics of this; whether I will actually mail it or just tuck it away somewhere. But I want to remember in detail the everyday circumstances of my life right now. We all have ups and downs in life, good times and bad.

This week, I am on a high :)

No momentous occasion has brought on my happiness today. But my family is delightful and healthy. Homeschooling is going well. I go to sleep each night very, very tired, but proud of my hard day's work. While my plate is very full, my heart is fuller and spilling over the brim.

In Mass this week, my eyes kept welling up as Joshua cuddled into my side during the sermon. Both he and Noah have taken a surprising interest in attending daily Mass. While this can be challenging to get to, it is such a special way to begin our day. As Joshua nestled into my side, I couldn't help but think, "How much longer will this last?"

These days are precious and fleeting. I want to cherish it. Savor it. And remember it. How long will my sons hold my hand? How many more Christmases do we have full of magic? This is the phase of motherhood that I have always dreamed of. Beyond it lies the unknown; an abyss of parenting adolescents and young adults. I realize even though that phase of parenting is challenging in different ways, it will have its own rewards. But those rewards are much less tangible to me and difficult for me to picture.

Right now, each day is full of the moments I've pictured since I was a little girl and knew I wanted to be a mommy: kisses on scraped knees, bedtime prayers, pancakes in pajamas, snuggling on the couch around a favorite story, games of peek-a-boo, tender moments and loving eyes that words can't describe.

This is my life right now. May I continue to remember, no matter what life brings, how very blessed I am. And just in case I forget, I think I'll write myself a reminder. 

Monday, September 17, 2012


For a while now, I have been praying for our car. A little weird? Probably.

We have had the Honda Pilot for about six years and it has been so good to us. We know it needs to have some maintenance work done, but this expense will have to wait until early next year. It runs fine and everything and we're not having any trouble with it. Yet. But how long can your car remain healthy and running smoothly without the regular maintenance? A little bit of me feels like the sand is slipping through the hourglass until the inevitable breakdown. Can we make it through the next few months?

I realize that it makes much more sense to spend money now on preventative maintenance. This is a no-brainer. In fact, this type of advice bugs me a little bit, because I find it a little patronizing. Of course it makes more sense to spend money on the car now, just like it makes more sense to save all year for a Christmas fund and to "pay yourself first" in a savings account. When we are done paying off all of our credit card debt in about a year, these are the types of things that we will be doing.  But in the mean time, we can't. The money just isn't there yet and we are doing the best we can.

Hence the prayers for our car.  There have been many times driving recently when I sort of pet the dashboard and think to myself, "You're such a good car. You've been so good to us. Just a little longer, okay?" And then I even ask for heavenly help: "Please Lord, can you help our car make it through the next few months?"

I definitely laugh at myself sometimes when doing this, but I'm alright with that.

With four camping trips and a trip over to Chelan this summer, our car has taken on the extra miles this season. On the car ride home yesterday from Deception Pass, Jason and I were planning to get the car new tires next year. After we parked in the driveway, Joshua got out and asked, "What's that sound?"


Our left front tire was punctured and worn enough that it is not reparable.

Did this happen on the highway with three kiddos in the car?  Nope. Right there in the safety of our own driveway. That tire is the only one that is worn that way, so we should be able to replace it now and then replace the others in a few months. Not ideal, but it'll do.

Sometimes when  I am worried about something, it's as if through the everyday events of my life, Jesus will check in with me. I imagine him walking down the street in front of our house as we realize that the tire is punctured, how many miles we have driven this summer and how blessed we are that this happened at home. An answered prayer. He strolls by, points at us, clicks with his tongue twice and reassures us,
"I"m right here. All the time.
I got your back."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nine Years . . .

And today makes nine. The nine best years of my life, much better than I had dared to dream when we said "I do."

He is my best friend and my heart is spilling over with love for him today.

In the midst of this crazy week, he is the one who anchors me. Last night, helping me to remember what we had been doing exactly nine years prior. This morning, while I'm still in my morning grogginess, wishing me a happy anniversary before I even remembered what day it was. Before he left for work, explaining to the boys how we made a choice to spend the rest of our lives together.

Marriage is truly better than I knew it could be. He still surprises me, he takes care of me, he can make me laugh to tears and in every way, he is my perfect companion.

I love you, Jason. With all my heart. Thank you for a delicious first nine years to our life together.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ready . . . Set . . . Go!

Well, there's good news and there's bad news. I'll start with the bad . . .

A few weeks ago, I was running low on space for photos in my Google Picasa account that is connected to Blogger. Jason and I tried to remedy this, but in doing so, we have disturbed the link to each and every photo from the past three years. Thus, rather than my beautiful pictures showing up, a big, ugly, black box with a triangle error icon appears.

I am pretty sure we have figured out what we did wrong and I am pretty sure it won't happen anymore. But the only way to fix the photos that are already up would be to go through each individual posting, remove all of the photos and then re-upload them. Well considering I had over 300 photos on my blog, that will not be happening. I wish I had the time for that, but I don't. I wish I was a professional blogger with an assistant to help out with technical difficulties, but I'm not.

What's most upsetting is that I have envisioned our kids, years from now, being able to browse through the postings I'd put together during their childhood, reading my words about motherhood and seeing the photos of themselves I'd chosen. This idea is somewhat tainted now.

The only good that comes from all of this is that it motivates me to write more and post more photos to replace the ones that are lost.

So what's the good news? Well, you may recall that in a recent posting,  I said that particular day was kicking my butt. Well, today, I kicked the first day of the school year's butt :)

I don't like to brag about myself and I hope that I am correct in the feeling that I don't do it often. But today, I rocked.

Our Volcano. Note the poor soldiers dying in the lava. Aaaaah, boys.
The boys and I have been looking forward to this day as I had planned some fun things for us. The boys got to choose what we had for meals: fried eggs for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch and roast chicken for dinner. Beyond the regular lessons for the day, we also built a volcano and baked pumpkin bread.

The self-portraits. They are pretty funny just as themselves, but adding to the humor is twofold: 1. I put them on the wall in their artwork frames before the glue was really dried, so glue trailed down Joshua's forehead and along the side of his eye. On the pinkish paper this looks like blood, making his portrait to look a little gory. 2. Veronica looks as these hanging in the kitchen and immediately begins laughing.
Today was Noah's first day of kindergarten. I feel as a homeschooling family, some of the school rituals can be lost. I will never watch teary-eyed as my kindergartner gets on the school bus for the first time. Of course, I'm okay with that. But some of the milestones can get overlooked if I don't create traditions for ourselves. Today, the boys made self-portraits, we took a "class photo" and measured their heights on the wall. We baked together, ate meals together and snuggled on the couch as I read about the fall of the Roman empire. The boys spent the late afternoon running through the sprinkler. Not too shabby. 

Our Class Photo :)
Noah, completing workbook pages
 The laundry and the dishes got done, the house was not a mess, I had time to read more of Mockingjay and for dinner I roasted two rosemary and lemon stuffed chickens, butternut squash and zucchini. I am tired, but it was a very good day and a great start to the school year.

Enjoying licking the bowl and spoon after making the pumpkin bread

Running through the sprinkler
Toddler homeschooling - Practicing going down the stairs

Monday, September 3, 2012

Trying to Overcome "Why Do We Even Try?!"

Here we are, ready to begin another school year. This will be my third year of homeschooling, with Joshua as a second grader, Noah as a kindergartner and Veronica as a 1 1/2 year old developing abundant skills in the arts of throwing tantrums and screaming "no!"

This month we are also presenting an Engaged Encounter weekend, we will celebrate our anniversary, we are going on our last camping trip for the year and I begin teaching Faith Formation.

With a lot going on, I will consciously (try to) keep an "I can do it!" attitude. Yesterday, our priest gave a wonderful sermon on the differences between being an optimist and a pessimist. One quote was from Winston Churchill:
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

English: Sir Winston Churchill.
For an optimist, he looks a little grumpy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I typically think of myself as an optimist, but do I see opportunity in every difficulty? Hmmmm. Definitely not.

Last week, we had a surprise 60th birthday party for my dad, and many stories came up about him from when we were kids. One story happened when we were all sitting around the dining room table for a celebratory brunch and little Jeremy spilled an adult's Bloody Mary onto the beautiful white table cloth. In sudden frustration, Dad exclaimed, "Why do we even try?!"

While I have inherited many wonderful things from my Dad, this discouraged attitude when the going gets rough is sometimes also one of them. For instance, if I have a dinner planned to cook one night and it doesn't come together for some reason (like I measured something wrong, burned it or forgot to buy an ingredient), I'm not sure if anything else gets me in a worse mood. I mean this scenario gets me seriously pissed. I surely don't see this difficulty as an opportunity.

The Y is closed this week for renovations, and this past weekend after indulging in too much brunch and a touch too much champagne, I decided to go for a run. This was definitely an effort, as all I wanted to do was take a nap. One of my requirements for a run is my iShuffle with a good workout playlist, especially when it's been months since I went running due to all my zumba-ing. Well, first I couldn't even find my iShuffle and then it wouldn't sync with my computer. Almost an hour later, I just wanted to bag the whole thing and like my dad, yell, "Why do I even try?!"

In organizing for the upcoming school year, I have been making my first ever Mother's Notebook, an idea that I got from another blog that I like to read, Life as a Mom. This notebook is my own custom made organizer that I am putting together myself and will then have bound at Kinko's. Basically, it is magical bliss on paper, will change my life and make me a better person. It has been a lot of work and while I enjoy putting stuff like this together, there have been several times after hours of work, when the technology I'm using just stops working. Again, I felt like giving up. Why do I even try?!

Is the glass half empty or half full? The pess...
Perhaps I am a "Half Empty" kind of girl? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am working on changing this attitude when I encounter an obstacle. I did go on that run (after Jason figured out another way to upload my music) and I am almost done creating my Mother's Notebook.

With so much on my plate this month and this upcoming school year, I need to go into it expecting a few obstacles. Okay, scratch that. Maybe I'm more pessimistic than I thought. Actually, I think I need to go into this school year expecting it to be wonderful.

Still there's part of me that wants to argue that I'm not a pessimist, I'm a realist. But isn't "I'm Not a Pessimist, I'm a Realist" the title of the National Pessimist Organization's anthem? Hmmmmm.

 (Photo credit: Ankher)
But for the sake of this posting, let's say that I expect a few obstacles this year not out of pessimism, but because such is life.

When the inevitable obstacle shows its scary face, I am going to try really hard not to throw up my hands, throwing in the towel and yelling through fitful sobs, "WHY DO I EVEN TRY???!!!"

No, I will try really hard not to do that.

I will try hard to remain calm, maybe even smile and see the obstacle as an opportunity.

And if I can't do that (See how pessimistic I really am?), I will at least not give up, reread this posting and recall that while my genetic make-up fates me to give in too easily to discouragement, I am trying to work on that.

Rebecca - Read here and say out loud: I can do it.

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